I was impressed by a blog post at Lifehack.org called 13 Reasons Why You Will Not be Successful.
I understand that it was phrased that way to capture attention but I prefer to turn them around to the positive and to relate them specifically to writing or other creative endeavors.
1. YOU ACCEPT RESPONSIBLITY
I don't think I'm a whiner but when I pay attention to what I say I do hear myself complaining more than I want to. Recently an online venture went wrong. It's easy and not entirely incorrect to blame it on my partner on that project, but it's not the most productive thing to do. There's a great saying I forgot:
"Don't expect. Inspect."
In other words, don't assume that others will do what they are supposed to do or even what they have said they will do.
In this instance when I ask myself what I could have done that would have prevented the problem, I can't honestly say 'nothing.' I could have confirmed and checked and insisted, and I didn't.
Looking at this in the context of writing, if we are not successful it's easy to blame the economy, agents or publishers, the poor taste of readers, and on and on. But ultimately it's up to us to find a way to write that gets people excited, without giving up our integrity. If we can't do that we are lacking an essential skill and we have to take responsibility for acquiring it...or finding something else to do with our creative drive.
When I take a hard look at various aspects of my life I can find a number of things for which I haven't accepted full responsibility...how about you?
ps: Maybe "You are willing to take a hard look at your life," should actually be the first reason that you will succeed.