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The One Thing Successful Writers Don’t Do (With 5 Great Examples)

The One Thing Successful Writers Don’t Do (With 5 Great Examples)

You want to be successful in your writing endeavours, don’t you?

Of course you do. Everyone does.

But get it clearly – except you realize and avoid this one fatal thing all successful writers never do, your writing dreams would remain a mirage.

Without a single exception, all successful writers don’t surrender to setbacks. In the face of daunting challenges and ugly odds, they don’t let in.

They‘re people who learnt, appreciated and lived by the age-old maxim: winners never quit; and quitters never win.

The antecedent of success

Biographers of fulfilled writers often paint the image of people who had smooth sail to their successes … people who had it ‘jolly-jolly’ and never encountered cruel challenges.

Nothing is farther from the truth!

The most accomplished writers will tell you many stories of failure within their life journeys. Many (if not all) have experienced major failures, multiple times.But they never gave in.

But they never gave in.

#1: J.K. Rowling

This insanely successful writer of the Harry Potter series, which has sold over 400 million copies, received, early in her career as an author, tons of rejections from publishers.Even her famous Harry Potter manuscript was rejected repeatedly for reasons, such as,

Even her famous Harry Potter manuscript was rejected repeatedly for reasons, such as, ”It is far too long for a children’s book” and, ”Children books never make any money.”

She didn’t give in, and she made it.

#2: Hubert Lawrence

I wrote about Lawrence in my book, Your Right To Write:

As a young man, he nursed the ambition of being an accomplished writer, but he was a poor boy who never went to school. Because of this, kind friends assured him his ambition was impossible.

Against all odds, Lawrence saved some money and got himself the most complete dictionary of his time so as to master all the words in it.

But then, he turned to the word “impossible”. With fine scissors, he cut it out and threw it away. Thereafter, he built his whole career on the premise that nothing is impossible.

And he went ahead to become one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century.

#3: Yours sincerely

Apologies for diluting this list. I should never have made this list for two reasons: I’m not yet a successful writer; and my example isn’t a great one as the title promised.

But so you may know me better, when I started writing, I was a very broke chap: no PC, no reliable internet connectivity and no cash to facilitate visits to café.

Yet, I entered over 15 essay contests before I ever won one: typing essays on my phone, transferring them with a Bluetooth device to a borrowed PC and processing them for onward submission to the organizers.Many would berate my self-inflicted sufferings.

Many would not have endured my self-inflicted sufferings.

But I was stubborn. And I’ve gone ahead to win 11 writing prizes, set up a writer’s platform and publish books, because I was persistent like the great writers I hope to be like.

But is this just about writers?


This unrepentant resolve to succeed is so important it works well for anyone, not just writers.

I’ll give two examples:

#4: Walt Disney

The creator of the global Disney empire of film studios, cartoons and theme parks was once fired from a job at the Kansas City Star Newspaper because he was “not creative enough.

But he was too stubborn to surrender.

He went ahead to become one of the most creative geniuses of his time.

#5: Oprah Winfrey

Broadly acclaimed the queen of entertainment, this world’s No. 1 on the Forbes celebrity list who’s enjoyed an amazing career as a talk show host, actress, and producer, got fired from an early job as a reporter because she was ”unfit for television.”

She was unrepentant, going ahead to become the very best of what she was declared unfit for.

The takeaway is: If you’ll become a fulfilled writer, life will knock you down multiple times. Each time, you must dust yourself off and carry on trying. [Click here to tweet that]

Speak out…

Have you or someone you know been propelled to success by persistence? Share your experience in the comments.

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-- Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji | Fulbright scholar | Senior Lecturer, Unilorin | newspaper columnist

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. Thanks for this, it’s really inspiring. One shouldn’t allow other people to kill their dreams. If you can dream it, then you can make it.

  2. Dear Mohammed,

    This is my first comment on your article. Believe me, you are doing a great job at this. You are one Nigerians that has given me hope with my writings.

    I tweet your essay competitions and mention you, but I haven’t received a reply on any of them. Nevertheless I am ardent believer in your dream.

    I do hope to meet you someday soon. Keep on keeping on. God bless you efforts.

  3. Aliyu Abubakar says:

    Ive been trying to comment on your various interesting writeups in this blog but all without success.Maybe,because of constant network failure or…Glad as this is perhaps gonna be my first comment.As usual,this is another very good inspirational writeup.Most people get their inspiration to write or do a particular task after reading some highly motivational books.Likewise,I always get my inspiration to write a thing after reading through the great motivational book,”Your Right To Write”.The powerful messages the book contains are as just as great scientific drugs for treating ailments.Thank u sir for this one too.

  4. Thank you so much for this. I will keep writing no matter what.
    Having a personal blog on has really improved my writing skills.
    Thanks for your inspiring blog posts.

  5. Nice write up, just started reading your book and I must say i’m enjoying it. If it’s not too much trouble, I would love for you to visit my site and tell me what you think… keep up the good work.

  6. Oguntuase Oladele says:

    Abdullahi, your tips are working

  7. Ayeyemi Taofeek Kehinde says:

    That’s the secret again; persistence. Challenges are inevitable. And any road taken with no obstacle leads to nowhere. All we need to succeed is perseverance.
    Thanks coach.

  8. hmmm

    great words are never spoken.

    gentle words falls lightly but have great weight.
    I equally agree with u dat d height dat great men reach is not by sudden flight. it is unrelenting, unending, persistence dat lead to success.

    only d paranoid survive, success in any endeavor will not and cannot be a tea party or walk on the beach.

    I have also fail in some venture but thank God today I can record a phenomenal success.

    thanks for the thoughtful write-up, the great writer of our time.

  9. Nnaa Paul says:

    Great work.Keep it up.JEREMY would say “showing up always no matter what will win you the day”Procrastination and lost of enthusiasm has dealt with me with regards to writing.Now I will put things in place.

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