The One Thing You Must Do to Become a Successful Writer

When I have the last session of any of my Circle of Success Targeting Learning Programs, I tell the participants the same thing I’m about to tell you.

I greet our final time today with mixed emotions: I’m both excited and reluctant to say good-bye.

Why excited? This article is the fifth and final in my series of the Circle of Success blog posts I’m sharing with you this week. I’m hoping my words have helped you become a better, more successful writer. And that excites me.

I’m reluctant to say good-bye, because I’ve enjoyed sharing this time with you so much. But I hope – no, make that I’m sure – we’ll meet again in another series for The Writer’s Life. And, who knows, maybe we’ll chat again in the COS Blog or in one of the COS Targeted Learning Programs.

Enough said. Yesterday we talked about four secrets to becoming an A-level writer.

Today, as I promised then, we’re going to look at the one thing you must do to be a successful writer.

Leave this one thing out, and I don’t care how skilled you are … how many books you read … how many programs you study … you cannot become a successful writer.

The single most important thing you must do to ensure your writing success …

Write. And write some more. And even more.

To be successful, you must write something every day. You must do this seven days a week.

It doesn’t have to be much. You can get by with 250 words a day.

Consider your daily writing “push-ups” for the brain. Writing daily strengthens your “writing muscles.” It makes coming up with ideas easier. It reduces the fear of the blank page … and makes words flow more smoothly.

But when you do this daily writing, make sure it’s something that’ll have the biggest impact on your career.

How do you do that? What do you write?

It isn’t just about writing

Any writing you do is not really about making a sale … or writing resumes … or producing web copy … or being a “content provider.”

All successful writing is about persuasion. Make your daily writing something persuasive. Choose anything you’re passionate about and persuade someone else to see your point of view.

For instance, write your local newspaper about an important issue. Convince readers why the local park district needs more money. Or, write a letter to the editor urging support of an upcoming “Walk for Life” to raise money for breast cancer research.

Whatever it is you write, make it something you feel strongly about. Get your readers to feel the same way.

Write a testimonial letter for products you’ve tried and have been wowed by. Or, if you’ve been disappointed, write to the company telling them why. Don’t be angry in this letter. Bring your writing skills into play … and be persuasive.

Did you visit a vacation spot you loved? Write a letter and tell someone about it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy escape to Paris. Write about the three days spent fishing for trout on the upper Sacramento River.

Did you see a movie you loved – or hated? Write an in-depth review.

Don’t send those letters

Once you’ve written your letter, don’t send it … yet. Let it sit for a few days. Then, go back and, for one of your daily writing sessions, you don’t write. Rewrite. Look at one of your writing samples with a critical eye.

Does it say exactly what you wanted to say? Are the words the best ones you can use? Have you eliminated words you didn’t need and simplified your language as much as possible without writing down to your reader?

Polish your writing until it’s close to perfect. Once it’s there, let others see it. Send your testimonial to the company whose product impressed you. Send your restaurant letter or your vacation story to the local newspaper. Upload your movie review to someplace like the Internet Movie Database.

After a while – sooner rather than later – your writing gets stronger, more persuasive.

Practice every day. Writing will get easier for you. You’ll gain more confidence. You’ll love to write and will be writing more.

And soon, you’re submitting real assignments to real companies you want to write for … and soon you’ll get paid.

But, it won’t happen if you don’t take the one make-or-break step … and write every day.

One thing I’d love for you to write right now is your comments. You can do it in the comment section here. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

I’ve loved being with you this week. Maybe we’ll meet again. Perhaps in the COS Blog, or at Bootcamp, or in one of the Circle of Success Targeted Learning Programs. Until then …

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 4.6
Published: May 8, 2015

36 Responses to “The One Thing You Must Do to Become a Successful Writer”

  1. Dear Will, I will miss the sage of writing the best possible copy. Thank you for sharing a huge piece of your professional self with us. now then, I loved the big piece of advice you saved for last. I'll bet of all of us (novices) who write every day, not many of us REWRITE, and that is key to not settling for good. Even for word-lovers, it is still work 'pruning' a piece to near perfection. I see a road that leads to much inner discovery...do I have what it takes?! I sure hope so. thank you!

    Guest (Jackie of NH)May 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  2. I have been reading a LOT of information on becoming a better writer over the years (yes, years, and I'm still not doing the writing I want to be doing...I know, I know...).This, by far, has been the BEST practical advice I've ever read. I look forward to implementing what feels like the missing piece for me. Thank you so much, Will!

    Sue DysonMay 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm

  3. Good series Will, and you just reminded me...

    Lately, I've been getting requests for Amazon reviews from companies. They usually arrive a few days after their product arrives.

    I'm working on building a name in the alternative health space. And these are alternative health products.

    What a great way to exhibit my writing ability. Using Amazon reviews for the companies I'd like to work with. Maybe, just maybe it'll grab someone's attention in their marketing dept.

    David TomenMay 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  4. Your letters of instructions have been more than instructional but have been encouraging as well. In fact I have found them to be so valuable that I've printed them out so that I can refer back to them. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

    Guest (Lorraine W)May 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm

  5. I believe there is a component of witchery in your writing. And of perfect timing as well.

    I was going in circles, digging even more a rut that would soon get me emprisoned in a habit of just enough.

    This blog component offers me an answer, a confirmation about a topic I feel I MUST write about in an especially convincing manner.

    Now I know where to go.

    POOF. A ladder appears to help me out of my hole!

    Andre NORTHMay 8, 2015 at 5:21 pm

  6. Hello, In memory of mother day, I finished writing a story"A CRY FOR MOTHER" I am crying along with my story.This story about how my mother got her first heart attack and how we lost her.
    My writing is not good , but I keep write every day something. I hope dome day my story will appear on one of the magazine

    Guest (jane)May 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm

  7. I would like to say how much I have learned from your lessons. Yes I love writing, and writing everyday. Due to a injury I find myself looking at writing as my new career. Very soon I will look forward to being a full fledged member.
    Yours truly, Gregory

    Guest (Gregory Cutschall)May 8, 2015 at 10:56 pm

  8. Hi Will, I always look forward to reading any article that you write with great anticipation because I know that there will be at least one gem in it that will make me a better writer.
    I've picked up a gem each day this week but the gem I got today was more valuable than the Hope Diamond.
    I plan on making a special folder to hold all of my now daily writings.
    Thank you so much for all the advice and tips that you so freely give.
    You are a true gem yourself.
    Hope to meet you at boot camp.

    Don DahlemMay 8, 2015 at 11:17 pm

  9. I admire your persistence in encouraging me to write. I am writing to thank you for your diligence in motivating me to be a writer. I am convinced. Thank you!

    Guest (Marthina Saiya)May 8, 2015 at 11:27 pm

  10. Thanks Will great stuff I especially liked the golden thread part ... I will be referring back to that often! I met you at the Joshua Boswell Launch event in San Diego it was great talking to you on that day you gave me some great insight on my book Marriage of Honor let me know if you would like a copy I can send one to you. I love reading the Golden Thread articles they are very insightful. Hope to see you at another event soon so we could talk some more... Thanks

    Guest (Richard Quinonez)May 9, 2015 at 1:16 am

  11. Thank you! I find myself leaving a comment for the first time. Maybe it's the procrastinator in me- OH NO! LAST BLOG? I need to at LEAST SAY THANK YOU!!- so there you have it. My first step. It's only taken a lifetime to write it. Not too bad. ;) Have a wonderful day, sir. Appreciatively, Mrs. P. Cole :)

    Guest (Mrs C)May 9, 2015 at 6:54 am

  12. Hi Will,

    Thanks for writing the AWAI blog posts this week. It was great to hear from one of the COS Master Instructors!

    You packed a ton of valuable information into five little posts...just imagine how much knowledge could be gained from being a Circle of Success member with access to all of the courses.

    A little confession...I don't have to imagine because I am a member, and I know firsthand the benefits of COS!

    Thanks again for sharing A-level secrets with us this week.

    Guest (Lisa Laney)May 9, 2015 at 7:26 am

  13. Good Morning, Boy have I had a tough time getting started with this dream of mine. Maybe that is the operative word, DREAM. I seem to have every excuse in the book not to write and my emotions, along with the thousands of thoughts that float around in my head seem to lend a hand to NOT focusing. Do you have an inspirational letter to help me focus? It would be greatly appreciated.

    Have an awesome day!

    Guest (Anita)May 9, 2015 at 8:24 am

  14. Thanks Will Newman for this post. I think there are many writers who are like me. Although I know that I have to write everyday, many are the times I am lethargic if the piece of writing I am doing does not serve immediate promise of certain benefits. Thanks for the reminder that writers must keep on writing regardless of the circumstances as this will continue sharpening their skills.

    MurigiMay 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

  15. Will, you are persuasive. I just started my log of "write something daily" based on your article. it's about 4 day trip my wife and I took through south central France... so there's a result for you! It's a great idea and it's also a pleasure, because I do love to write... it's just fun!

    Guest (Al B)May 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

  16. Dear Will, Thank you for your insights and advice this week. I see that you once had a career as a teacher, and as a teacher myself perhaps you could help me solve a quandry by pointing me in the direction of a copywriting niche in which I could most make use of my skills and experience as an ESL and gen ed teacher. Thank you so much!

    Peter DMay 9, 2015 at 3:54 pm

  17. Will, Thank you for your thoughts and comments this week. I've joined the Circle of Success and am so glad to have exposure to experts like you who will enhance my persuasive writing that will allow me to achieve other goals. Writing is rewriting (Stephen King, et al) has become ingrained in me this year. I've had success this week with Trip Advisor and others following your advice and happy to know kindred spirits will do the same. Best wishes

    Guest (Gail)May 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

  18. Will,

    Thanks for such a simple, but powerful piece of advice. Just what I needed to get me going again! I'm going to put it into practice starting today.

    Scheryl McDavidMay 11, 2015 at 9:03 am

  19. Hello Will, I always enjoy reading what you've written. I learn so much. It's the little things you point out that can make a huge difference in the way we as writer's write. Thank you for that and also for reminding us how important it is to write everyday. "Push Ups for the brain."

    Thanks again!

    Guest (MGreene)May 11, 2015 at 1:48 pm

  20. Dear, Will, I, too,have mixed emotions when saying,"Good-bye." I would like to just say how refreshing it was to meet you -if only a little and not in person! However, this gives me something to look forward to!
    Hopefully, we will meet this October at,"Bootcamp"- that is, if I read, grasp the material and effectively utilize the art of persuasion techniques at lightening speed. I just downloaded the book,"Persuasion- the Subtle Art of Getting What You Want",co-authored by you. And I have 48 hours to persuade my better half to let me attend and sign up (for the early reg. benefits)!
    Don't worry, if I hear,"no", then I will turn it around by adopting (politely) Jerry Weintraub's strategy until I get the green light

    Guest (Sean G)May 12, 2015 at 6:30 pm

  21. Hello, Will, This is Sean, again- I was too wordy and had to delete half my previous post...so, I won't take up much more of your time. I would like to know if I may, please, e-mail you, in the future- if I don't abuse the privelege?
    Thank you, again for sharing your secrets with all of us! You are a kind and generous person!
    Take good care- Until we meet again, Sincerely grateful, Sean

    P.S. I knew you were a cat person!

    Guest (Sean G)May 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm

  22. Hoping that you believe in "better late than never" I am taking your admonition seriously and writing TODAY. Everything you suggest, urge, and recommend parallels what the great authors of literature have said. Thank you.

    a w sJune 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

  23. Since spending most of my life being "convinced and persuaded" by other people, (and particularly my 3 children) it will be interesting and challenging to reverse this process and take up your advice to write persuasively every day. Thank-you!

    GigiJune 22, 2015 at 5:13 pm

  24. Will, I greatly appreciated your articles, (your teaching) particularity this one. ( did catch one or two others last week, but missed more than two. I will go back and read them now.

    I have made lists of things to talk about. I even have a prospective title for a book some day.

    My communications and Email are too long mostly, and my level of communication is too high, so I have adjusting to do. Writing daily will more easily allow me to do this adjusting. Thank You.

    Guest (NoMoHype)August 3, 2015 at 11:35 am

  25. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It is informative and encouraging while instilling full confidence in me as a new(ish0 writer just opening the door to a new hobby and hopefully a new career.

    Guest (Stephen)August 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

  26. What great writing strategies! I have learned so much in just these five blog posts. I had taken a writing course, and that is where I learned how bad my writing actually was. The funny thing about that is that, up to that point, I had been given much praise on my writing, which suggests that there are not many very good writers out there, not even in academia. So I will use your techniques and strive for excellence in my written work.
    Thank you Will,thank you.

    Guest (Danny)August 26, 2015 at 6:08 pm

  27. Will, everything I've read that you wrote I relate to. Your message to write everyday seems like a good idea for all the reason you stated. I'll do it. I'm just getting started and see the value. Appreciate your inspiration. Ok, got to go write now.
    Myla

    MylaSeptember 22, 2015 at 6:30 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)