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Five traits of successful authors

When I first started my own business, I had an opportunity to earn a luxury car from the company I worked for. Problem was, I’d never owned a luxury car. I was raised middle class, worked my may through college, and struggled for years to pay the bills. Driving a luxury car was not part of my reality.

But I really, really wanted that car. I knew I had to change my belief system. So I created a little song about that car and the belief that I could earn it. Fortunately, I don’t remember the song now, but for weeks, as I went on my daily three-mile walk, I sang that little song to myself. I put all of my intention in that song. Gradually, my belief system began to change and, within six months, I earned that car.

I’ve always studied successful people. Over the years, I’ve listened to self-improvement tapes, read self-help books, gone to seminars and even hired a personal coach. I was motivated to change.

Becoming a successful author or artist is no different. Of the authors I’ve studied, I’ve found several common denominators:

  • Successful authors have a system. Author Dean Koontz gets up every morning, goes to his home office and writes. Eight hours or more a day. Consistently, day in and day out.
  • They’re passionate. Most successful authors are passionate about their writing and life in general. Think Ernest Hemingway.
  • They’re disciplined. The bottom line is successful authors write. They stay focused on the task at hand and get it done.
  • They take creative risks. They don’t produce cookie-cutter novels. They use their imagination. They don’t play safe.

All these are important and I’m sure there are more but, in my opinion, the number one trait of successful authors is self-esteem. They believe in themselves. Successful authors realize their product is a reflection of themselves. If they don’t believe in themselves, then how can they believe in what they create? How can a reader believe?

Harry Potter might say that the true wizard believes first, then creates his reality from that belief.

One good way to increase your self-esteem is to make a list of your fears and then pick one fear at a time and work on overcoming it. Do you have a fear of public speaking? Join your local toastmasters or other similar organization. Are you afraid of one-on-one encounters? Join a local networking group. Are you afraid of snakes? Well, you get the idea…. As you conquer your fears, your self-esteem will naturally increase.

In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy and her friends were all missing a part of themselves. What did the wizard give them to make them whole again? He gave them belief in themselves. Unfortunately, nobody can give you self-esteem but you can set to work on increasing it yourself. What have you got to lose? Except maybe some old patterns that no longer serve you.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Damn, I’ve searched my soul and can’t find even one trait to add – at least, not one as insightful as the ones in your list.

    April 2, 2012

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