This week I’m publishing a new novel, The Last Enchantments, about an American abroad at Oxford (kind of a Brideshead Revisited remix). It will be the eighth book of mine released by a big New York publishing house, but I think it was only somewhere around the fifth or sixth that I stopped feeling like an impostor. There’s no magical change you feel when your first book finally sells – the same doubts are still there, and definitely the same feeling that you’re a kind of crazy charlatan, trying to trade words out of your brain for money.
But for all that that’s true, the more writers I meet, the more I notice that there are some crucial differences between the professional ones and the ones who want to be professional. I hope that doesn’t sound condescending – every professional writer used to be an amateur writer, after all, and often the distinctions I’m talking about don’t have anything to do with talent as much as with attitude. These are the five that I’ve noticed. Tools, Patience, Focus, Habit, and Practice.
— Brian Klems, Writer’s Digest Newsletter