Beautiful Galway Sunset illustrating an article about successful writingThe idea of what constitutes successful writing, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder.

Creativity and successful writing don’t always go together – at least not in the economic sense.

Many people believe that some of us are born creative and some of us are not. I would argue that it is the act of creating that makes us creative and that everyone can create something.

It is what they create that differs and it is how the ‘creative product’ is perceived that differs even more. I have explored this idea further on my post about becoming a writer.

Creativity has nothing to do with ‘the market’ or ‘success.’

Those are separate concepts, and when you are in the act of creativity you should focus all your concentration there – not on the market or money.

There are many very creative people who are not very good at marketing and there are less creative people who are.

Commercial success does not depend solely on creativity – there are other factors such as current trends, marketing and promotion etc.

Financial support while learning is very important also.

Struggling to survive can sap the energies of a creative person and someone who is broke might find themselves taking a job that pays the bills but leaves them little time for writing.

They will certainly have less time to focus on their art than someone who is living off a trust fund. I am not saying that you have to be financial secure to pursue your art but I am saying it certainly helps.

sunset over a fence illustrating an article about successful writing

At the end of the day though, what really matters is the work. Without work you cannot create art.

Stories don’t write themselves, any more than paintings paint themselves.

What matters most is that you apply yourself to your writing on a regular basis. Creativity is a muscle and to be strong creatively you need to exercise this muscle hard – by making sure you regularly.

To help with this I wrote a post about the techniques that have helped me find time for writing.

If you are not sure how to begin, you could start by trying some of these creative writing exercises.

Don’t monitor your progress when you are in the act of writing, just let the words out and get them down.

You can go back and edit later but in the beginning stages it will work better if you allow yourself to write without stopping.

This will instill a writing habit and a writing habit is a must for successful writing.

landscape with lake in the background illustrating an article about successful writing


I don’t believe there is a right or wrong view on the subject of successful writing –  just different views.

How I measure success will differ greatly from someone else. For example, for me it is more about enjoying the creative journey than money.

I am not being romantic or unrealistic. I have struggled enough with money in the past not to promote any fantasy of it being fun.

I know what it’s like to be scared my electricity will be cut off because I can’t pay the bill so I know it is important to earn money.

There are no free garrets for writers – that I also know. Bills must be paid and food must be bought. I haven’t yet heard of a supermarket where you can trade stories for groceries – but never say never…

So what does a writer do? Well first of all, decide on your own definition of success. Do you measure in money? Do you measure in critical acclaim? Winning prizes? Both?

Once you know this you can figure out how you are going to go about achieving successful writing.

If you don’t have a trust fund and need to earn a living from writing, then you could take a job that covers your bills but leaves you time to write.

This is just a suggestion – only you know your current circumstances well enough to make these decisions but it is certainly worth taking the time to sit and think about it in detail.

sun setting on a pier - illustrating an article about successful writing

Hopefully you are now in thinking mode – and while you are there I want to mention that it is also worth thinking about themes.

If you want to be successful in your writing then themes are important.

They are important because a writer often spends a lot of time exploring the same theme over and over – sometimes this is unconscious and sometimes not.

Being conscious of themes can help you be successful because people often choose books by theme and knowing what your readers want helps you produce more of it.

Practice might not make perfect but it definitely helps!

There is no point deciding to write stories with global warming themes just because you see a lot of these stories achieving market success at the moment.

Choosing themes according to current trends doesn’t work – by the time you have written your book, the market will do what markets do – move on.

Also if you are not wildly interested in global warming it will be excruciatingly difficult to write about it for any extended length of time and, sorry, but your disinterest will be obvious in your writing.

There’s more about choosing themes here. 

You won’t sell stories nobody knows about, unless you have a lot of good luck coming your way! So you have to think about how you are going to get your stories out there.

Just don’t think about marketing at the same time you are writing, or worse – before you even begin to write.

Learn to write first.

And on that note I’ll leave it there for now but no doubt I will return to the subject of successful writing again as there’s one sure thing about success – it is a huge subject.

Best of luck with your writing.


P.S. All the information and exercises on the site are free to you. All I ask is that you like, plus, or share. If have any questions or comments, just write in the comments box below. I love hearing from other writers and I do my best to answer every one.








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