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A couple of weeks ago I attended the Columbus Ohio Fiction Writer’s Conference where we heard Kristin Higgins speak. She told the story about watching the movie, The Untouchables, where Sean Connery dragged his bullet-riddled body down the street, after being attacked by the mob, and asked Elliott Ness, ”What are you prepared to do?” (about the mob).

Kristin said she has used that line throughout her career, asking herself what she was prepared to do in order to succeed as a writer. It’s a question every writer must face and one we must answer every day. After the conference I asked myself, “What am I prepared to do to succeed?” I came up with a list of things I think I must be prepared to do in order to succeed as a writer.

  • I must be prepared to put in the necessary time to succeed: Translation—butt in the writing chair time.
  • I must be willing to spend money on writing education at conferences and workshops.
  • I must be willing to go the extra mile and network, putting myself out there when I’d rather be the wallflower.
  • I must be prepared to send my manuscripts out, again and again and again.
  • I must be prepared for rejections, for they will surely come.
  • I must be prepared to throw out words, scenes, and pages and sometimes books, if they don’t work.
  • I must be prepared to put each book to rest at some point and not keep revising. There comes a time when you have to let the old ideas go and let the new ideas in.
  • I must be prepared to market myself, beyond a website and blogging, because that is what the new writing world requires now.
  • I must be prepared to cheer my fellow writers on when they achieve success and I’m still waiting, because to do otherwise poisons my creativity.
  • I must be prepared to hear, “Sorry, but we just published something similar to your book,” because there is nothing new under the sun—only the way in which it is told.
  • I must be prepared to tell myself every day, “You can do this, if you want it bad enough.”
  • And last, but certainly not least, I must want to succeed badly enough to do everything I possibly can to make my dream come true.

What are you prepared to do to reach your goal of publication?

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