Being creatively successful is often attributed to being talented or gifted, but it can also be argued that it takes aspiration, hard work, passion and determination to succeed at something. Writing is no exception.


Humans have always been creative – drawing, writing and making things for as long as we have documented our existence. And yet, these days we often get caught up in the excuse that we need to be talented to succeed creatively. However, it takes more than just aptitude to triumph as a writer.

A strong conviction, hard work, passion and a whole lot of determination are essential ingredients to making it happen.

1. Writers Need Conviction

Many writers aspire to write but get stuck on believing they can’t. In her book ‘Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear’, Elizabeth Gilbert encourages writers to give themselves ‘the permission slip to write’.

She strongly believes we’re all creative yet make excuses to get started. She says we often worry about what other people think or about how our work might turn out. But there’s always going to be criticism and setbacks. Why not ‘measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your success or failures,’ says Gilbert.

2. Keep Writing

Writing takes a lot of practice, so it’s important to write as much as you can. Making mistakes and making an effort are another two key aspects to success.
Writers can learn more from bad or unpredictable or weird experiences than from those that go exactly as you’d hoped and planned, claims Danny Gregory, author of  The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are .

It’s essential for any creative person to let go of the ego’s desire for perfection and learn to take risks.

freelance journalism course, the writers college

3. Find Passion

Starting any new project requires a certain amount of positive interest and a lot of determination.  Overcoming the mental inertia can often be the hardest part.

Our potential is one thing, what we do with it is another. We can be skilled at something, but without the necessary passion, we’ll never strive to be any better than we already are.

Katherine Hurst, author of The Law of Attraction, believes passion without the actual skills can still make for a successful combination. With enough passion, we become willing to put in the hours and work needed to be great at what we love.

4. Understand Perseverance  

Angela Duckworth, psychologist and author of  Grit: the power of passion and perseverance, believes that we shouldn’t place too much emphasis on talent itself, as it means we may miss the other fundamental factors that come into play, such as hard work and determination.  

She argues that there is a formula to success, and the paragons of ‘grit’ she talks about have four assets: interest, practice, purpose and hope.

It’s the people who practice true grit who will be the most successful.

Anyone who has ever put pen to paper has felt they were not good enough at times. Many writers lose their passion and stumble along the way. Those who ultimately succeed are the ones who persisted.

Winston Churchill once said, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’

About The Author

Athena Yiannoutsos currently lives in the Coromandel Peninsula with her husband and two teenage children.  She has written for local newspaper The Informer and is a member of the Whitianga Writers circle Inkheart.

Athena is an advocate of slow fashion and has recently begun get dressed! a blog focused on people creating products that have an ethical and sustainable focus at the forefront of their business practice.

Athena is a recent graduate of the Freelance Journalism Course for Magazines and Webzines at NZ Writers College.