What do you feel are vital attributes to maintain to ensure a successful writing career, and why?
I don't know for sure, but I would think that you need to know your audience, and give them what they want. Your work needs to be easy to find and follow, and it should be well structured. The content should be fresh and new and something that people are interested in. Perhaps most important you need to be genuinely interested in what you write about and always be true to yourself. This is just an opinion as I am far from a successful writer, but I hope to be someday !
A good writer must first have command of the English language--grammar, spelling and punctuation. Anyone reading what you wrote will not come back for more if there are too many grammatical errors. A good writer must also know his subject. He or she should have a deep enough understanding of the subject that he/she can provide good answers to questions the readers may have. In order to gain a sizable audience, the writer must be aware of what aspects of his or her field of expertse are of interest to a wide array of people. Finally, a good writer must have the ability to clearly and succinctly express his or her thoughts.
I think a writer earns stamina by proving his or her ability to grow and develop. If all 7 Harry Potter novels had existed in a cartoony style, they wouldn't be the most popular children's novels of all time (I don't know if they really are, I just suspect so)! Instead, J.K. Rowling grew and developed, just as her readers were doing. We're all anxious to read whatever her next endeavor is, because she hasn't worn us out with the same ole' boring "stuff". The stories are consistent, loop holes all closed, language specific, though vibrant. William Shakespeare wouldn't be the world's most revered playwright if every story took place in Verona, starring fickle teenagers. Shakespeare grew and adapted to the audience's expectations, while still keeping his own integrity and style.
I would agree with Bob that command of the English language is first and foremost. Know what you are writing and do your research. I firmly believe that to spend three or four days writing, researching and only then when you have gone through your work and doubled checked everything can you present your work for publishing. I myself use Open Office and this has a spell checker, a word count and many other helpfull means of getting your work out in a professional like manner.
A strong work ethic, able to work without supervision or guidance, determination, confidence in yourself, the ability to rebound, a strong grasp of the English language and it sure would be nice if you had a great voice that echoed a winning personality.
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