Motivation: 10 Tips for Becoming a Bestselling Author

Writer’s need motivation.  It’s like getting the fire started in the fireplace.  Reading other works gets the juices flowing.  Reading about other author’s successes lets you know it’s possible.  I came across this article from the  It’s Sophie Kinsella, bestselling author of the Shopaholic series, and a few others, talking about her best ideas for being a great author.  That’s my two cents– being a great author rather than “bestselling.”  If you take a look at her tips, they’re all about being a great writer.  If you become a great writer, being a bestseller is a matter of course.

Sophie Kinsella’s top 10 tips for being a bestselling author.

1. Always carry a notebook

2. Think “what if” and read

3. Write the book that you want to read.

4. Don’t talk about what you’re writing

5. Forget about genre to find your voice

6. Just get to the end

7. Walk and drink cocktails! (do yoga and meditate and eat- if you don’t drink booze)

8. Plan your books

9. Get a great agent and consider a pseudonym

10. Write the next you

These tips are all really great, but some are just priceless and they show why she is so successful.

#3 Write the book you want to read.  You can’t go wrong with that.  You will resonate and with that others will resonate with you.  This ties right into #5 – Forget Genre and find your voice and #10 – Write the next you.  All three of these are about resonating with the flow of your soul and they’re real world ways to get at the flow of your spirit.  So study them carefully when you read the full interview.

Super important is #4 Don’t talk about what you’re writing.  Think of a seedling- it’s fragile.  Ideas are like that too.  Present an oak tree not a sapling.  It’s harder for anyone to cut down. This speaks directly to #6 – Just get to the end.  A finished book is hard to argue with.  And as Kinsella says, you can always rewrite it.

#8 – Plan your books.  Kinsella says she takes months, even sometimes years to plan out a book.  Take a moment and roll that around in your mouth.  Everyone wants to become a bestseller and make millions.  Are you willing to carry your baby to term and experience the tearing pain of birth?  LOL.  I was once at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and there was an exhibition on the artist Ivan Albright, who painted The Picture of Dorian Gray.  This was used in the 1945 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel of the same name.  What struck me was how he described his process.  He said he would sketch and outline a picture for weeks and sometimes months before actually beginning to paint.  We have this idea that artists just naturally pour things in to form whether they be novels, poems, screenplays, paintings or even performances.  The truth is, writing is rewriting, painting is planning and acting is practice and listening, deep listening and that takes practice.  The point is, that day as I stood in the Met in New York, I realized that great writing takes planning and rewriting.  As the great yoga master Yogi Bhajan says, “Patience Pays, wait.  Let the hand of God work for you.”  The hand of God being your own flow of creativity, if you can tap it and keep it open.   Have the patience to get the flow down and let the art take form.  When you start thinking about how much money you can make off it, the process becomes retarded.  So this is a good point by Kinsella, (take the time to) Plan your books, which again, is why she’s such a success.

Final note:  I modified #7 – Walk and Drink Cocktails.  For those of us who don’t drink anymore I suggest you do yoga & meditate.  I can’t tell you how many times a story idea is worked our within five minutes of controlling my breath.  It’s a way to shut off the mind and change the gears without the repercussions of hangover and brain damage.  If you don’t drink, it can be easy to feel insecure and start drinking because is seems like all the successful artists do it.  More and more people are realizing that the old myth that writers and artists need to drink and do drugs to be creative is just not true.  For some people one or two drinks at the end of the day works.  If so that’s great.  The truth is the nature of these things pulls more people in to where they have to fill a void with the booze or drugs and it never works.  For some people it does.  Just know who you are and if you can handle it or not.  And don’t feel you have to start if it isn’t your thing.  You’re out to find what works for you, not imitate others.

I made a shortened version of these tips.  I didn’t change the words written by Alison Feeney-Hart, as that would be rude.  I just shortened the paragraphs so I could print it on one page and put it on my wall for motivation. You can download a copy of that here if you like: Kinsella – 10 Tips(short) for Being Bestselling Author

You can see the original article on the BBC website here: Interview with Sophie Kinsella – 10 Tips on Becoming a Bestselling Author

Remember though– the most important thing is finding the flow of you and your writing.  These tips point to that.  “Becoming who you truly are is the privilege of a lifetime,” says Joseph Campbell.  Find some way to become solid in your self.  Create the writing as a practice, make it a meditation.  The writing habit will create a groove that will help you to cut through the garbage in you and allow your spirit to flow into your writing.  These tips are about becoming you as a writer, not chasing the dollars on amazon.  That never works.  All the stories of writing success have one thing in common.  Those writers found a flow and then the success found them.  The flow creates the resonance.  The resonance generates the radiance.  The radiance attracts all things.  -J.G. Khalsa


Photo credit:  Featured image/Banner photo @sarah lee /eyevine daily

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