The Three "D's" of Success

It’s that time again when we reflect on the year past and look forward to what the new year will bring. New Year’s Resolutions are quite popular this time of year – exercise more, lose weight, shop less, be more considerate to others – we all have things in our lives we want to change. I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago and started instead making annual goals. Since resolutions are so famous for being broken I thought a terminology change might be of some assistance. So far I think it’s working, but I’ll keep you posted.

But aside from our personal lives and things we want to change, what about our writing lives? For some people change here is greatly needed. So how do you go about that? I propose the three D’s: Direction, Determination, Discipline.

Most of you who know me know how goal oriented I am so it is no surprise that direction is at the top of my list. You must know where you want to go in order to get there. I will not lecture on the merits of having a step-by-step plan because I know for some of you that will not work. But I do encourage each of you to ask yourself where you want to go this year and don’t stop at the simple, “I want to sell a book,” or “I want to get published”. Dig a little deeper and see what you come up with.

Determination. I’ve heard it said that the only sure fire way to not get published is to give up. Perseverance, persistence, endurance, it’s all the same thing. In order to be successful in this business you must be determined. For a lot of people this is just a matter of being themselves, but for others is it something you must muster up from within. Personally, I think this goes hand-and-hand with our motivation to write. It is like our characters, we must give them reasons for their actions. We too need reasons. Knowing why you want to write should give you the determination to see it through.

For those who have been in the military, this should be no problem for you, but for others discipline can be the difference between being a great writer and being a published author. In order to make any lasting change in one’s life you need discipline. Discipline is needed everywhere you look when it comes to the writing life: meeting deadlines, meeting a daily page quota, knowing when research should end and the writing should begin, getting the butt in the chair and keeping it there. There is a sugar coating to discipline though – we love to write. So while it might take discipline to get us to the keyboard, our love of writing will keep us there.

So there you have the three D’s that can help you along for a successful new writing year. I encourage each of you to work harder this year than you ever have before. Make 2002 the most successful year of your career. Ask yourself each day why you want to be a writer, remind yourself why you love this job, this will keep you going. Talk to your writer friends. Read some good books. Write what you love and you’ll have a great year.

Robyn Ratliff has been a member of RWA since 1996. She currently serves as President and Webmaster to her RWA Chapter, San Antonio Romance Authors. She writes historicals set in Victorian England and is currently dividing her time between writing her next book and Agent Quest.

Copyright © 2007. Robyn DeHart. All Rights Reserved.

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