We’re all writing to become ‘great’ in our own meaning of the word.
Whether being a ‘great writer’ to you means having tons of fans, making tons of money or just publishing stories frequently, you’ll still have to separate yourself from the pack of good writers.
On Medium — and in general — there are a ton of good writers. There are very few great writers. This is because most writers try to copy each other’s style and wind up producing average stories. It’s not bad but it’s also not great.
It takes a lot of work just to be a good writer, so how much does it take to be great?
Honestly, not as much work as you think. You just need to tweak the way you think and the way you go about writing.
Copy Great Writers
Not word-for-word obviously. We want to be great writers, not great plagiarizers. I mean to copy the style that successful writers use in their writing. Anything they can do, you can do better!
The best way for you to learn and copy from great writers is by reading their stories. You’ll get great ideas about which topics are popular, how to create attractive headlines and how to build an audience.
If you’re a blogger, reading the work of great writers will also give you more ideas about how you can format your blog posts in different ways. Listicles aren’t the only types of blog posts that work. There are a ton of different ways to go about formatting a blog post and the only way you’ll learn about them is by reading.
When I started writing on Medium, I had no idea how successful stories on this platform were formatted or written. I had to read more stories from great writers to write more stories. The more I read and found out what worked — and what didn’t — the better I became at writing. You can do the same.
Realize Great Writers Aren’t That ‘Great’
Let’s face it. We’ve all read stories from popular writers and thought “hey, I could write this.” It happens all the time, I often start to think that I could write the story that I’m reading even better than the original author.
Understanding that these so-called ‘great writers’ aren’t much more skilled than you will put you in the right mindset to succeed. Most great writers know how to reach an audience and write a headline that is clickbait. That’s it.
We should all aim to do better than catchy headlines.
Once you learn how to write to your audience and establish your voice, all that’s left is putting the words down on a paper. There is no huge barrier between us and our favorite writers.
Never Accept Defeat
It doesn’t matter if you made $100 writing last month or $1, never accept defeat as a writer.
You should always be thinking that you’re a great writer. This mindset will propel you forward through the ups and downs of writing. I’m going to be brutally honest here: There will be many more downs than ups when you start out as a writer.
Don’t let this discourage you or beat you. Keep writing.
The moment you accept defeat and slow down or give up as a writer, all of the work you put in to come so far has gone to waste.
On the flip side, when you’re doing well it’s important to acknowledge it while also not letting it go to your ego. Remember, you’re a great writer, not a hotshot.
Great Writers Love To Write
This is a point that I can’t stress enough.
I’ve met SO many writers who think that writing is a drag and view it as too much work. Yet, they continue to write because they feel obligated to do it. It baffles me that these writers can just write blindly without having any emotion or passion for writing.
These are not great writers.
If you’re a great writer, you’ll love to write every chance you get. And you’ll want to write every chance you get. I try to do something that involves writing every single day. Whether it’s just brainstorming ideas or writing a rough draft, I’m always trying to push forward in the field of writing.
Ignore The Haters
People are going to hate on you even before you become a great writer. It’s some kind of natural human characteristic to shit on someone else’s dreams because they even have dreams. The worst part about this is that it’s usually our own family and friends that try to tell us what we can and can’t do.
When these situations arise, I like to think about James Franco’s iconic line in the movie ‘The Interview’:
“They hate us because they ain’t us.”
It’s as simple as that. You’ll accumulate more of these haters as you grow in success and popularity but as long as you remember that it’s coming from envy, you’ll be able to push past it.
Honestly, if you don’t have any haters trying to tell you that your dreams are stupid and won’t work then you probably need to aim higher. Haters are our biggest motivators so it’s OK to have them.
Have The Mindset Of A Great Writer
The right mindset is the key to breaking barriers. If you have the mindset every day that you’re a great writer then you will be a great writer.
Going into every story you write with the mindset of “I’m a great writer” will make the story better. I guarantee it. It’ll make you more confident as a writer, more deliberate in your messages and more likely to try new things. On top of all that, if the story doesn’t perform well after you publish it, this same mindset will encourage you to do it all over again.
More mantras to fixate on as you write are “Great writers do this” and “Great writers don’t do that.” Remembering these phrases will guide your ideas as you write.
These mantras will help you to remember things that great writers do like create alluring headlines. They will also help you to remember not to do things like creating clickbait headlines.
Mental attitude is more than just a way of thinking. It’s how you view your own life. Great writers can live through negative criticism, lack of exposure and anything else that comes with writing. Not only do they live through these things, but they also feed off of them.