This post, by Michael D. Britton, originally appeared on his site on 10/3/11.
DRIVE – you won’t get far without it
There are lots of essential ingredients to achieving success in a fiction writing career.
Talent (or skill) is certainly key – but a gift for writing, alone, will not get you there.
Some may say “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Sure, connections are important – and part of building your career involves doing the work to build those connections and personal networks. But again, knowing the right people is not enough.
Others say you just need to have luck. Leaving your career up to chance is not a plan for success. I know of one successful writer who has been known to say, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
In other words, you need to have determination. Persistence. Patience. Faith.
In a word – DRIVE.
That drive is what motivates you to write every day. To finish every short story or novel you start. To submit every work for sale to a publisher who can buy it. To keep it submitted until it sells. (If that list looks familiar, see my previous post on Heinlein’s Rules).
Or, you can opt for the non-traditional route, and take the leap to publishing it yourself using tools like Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. All of these things require drive. (More on becoming a publisher in a future post.)
Drive also pushes a writer to improve his craft through learning and practice, and through accepting valid constructive criticism from trusted sources (your First Readers, and mentors who are further along in their careers than you are).
That takes humility.
How is my DRIVE translated to the written page? By setting goals and meeting them.
For example, two years ago, my goals involved maintaining a writing “streak.” It consisted of the following: