7 Steps To Writing Success

Here's some great advice from 7 writers. The advice was good when each first uttered it, and it's still good today.

(This article previously appeared on Writing Hacks, my subscription newsletter for writers. Subscribe today if you'd like articles like this as soon as they are published.)

1. Be professional.

"Fortify yourself within an impregnable structure of writing habits." Leonard Bishop

2. Don't talk about writing, write.

"You must write. You must finish what you write. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order. You must put it on the market until sold." Robert A. Heinlein

3. Improve your skills.

"The difference between using the right word and the one that is almost right is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Mark Twain

4. Get the story told.

"Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft." Stephen King

5. Keep your focus on what you can control - the writing.

"It is more profitable to stay aware of trends generally, yet concentrate your energies on simply writing the best novel you know how to write. Don't chase the market. Write the novel that is in you." Jack Bickham

6. Don't write static copy.

"When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns." Raymond Chandler

7. Write for today's reading audience.

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." Elmore Leonard

Takeaway Truth

Model your behavior and habits after those who have succeeded in your career field.


  1. 8) When you hit a block, it's time for a character to die.

    This one always works for me. *grin*

  2. Rule 8 is a little rough if you're writing a cookbook....

  3. Suzan Harden...

    That must be the up-the-ante contemporary take on Raymond Chandler's writing advice: "When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand."

  4. Dr. Harl Delos... *LOL*

    I was thinking about you the other day and wondering where you've been keeping yourself.

    Glad to hear from you.

    Best wishes,