#5onFri: Five Common Traits of Successful Authors

by Rachael Cooper
published in Writing

Since the onset of the 21st century, writing has undoubtedly evolved in a lot of remarkable ways. Now, more than ever, writers from all niches have access to more resources to help them create genuinely outstanding literature.

While the scope of available writing tools might have expanded and access to resources increased, the fundamental principles that make a good writer remain constant and evergreen. To this end, here are five crucial traits historically found among successful authors.

1. Passion for Literature

Perhaps the most critical attribute needed for anyone to succeed at any endeavour is passion. This quality sets you apart from the horde in ways no other trait does—it makes you genuinely original. True love for literature begins with a passion for reading.

When you genuinely enjoy gaining access into the minds and thoughts of others as you read through their words, you find out that your burning ideas begin to take on a form of overwhelming coherence. A passion for reading bestows you with the uncommon ability to enthral your target audience thoroughly. 

It is imperative to note that the passion coursing through your mind should be extremely vivid in your writing during character development and the description of emotional scenes. Always do your research properly to ensure you use the right words and phrases to transfer your passion and emotions from your mind to your readers.

2. Powerful Deductive Abilities

A spectacular author is not only able to appreciate the beauty of literature, they are also adept at spotting problems in it. Truly remarkable authors view other people’s writings like an art collector may view a painting—with an adoring, yet critical eye. As a great author, you must be able to appreciate the beauty of the piece you are reading while also being able to figure out the pitfalls in the text.

Pinpointing the problems in a piece of literature is not about detecting grammatical errors. It is about being able to view the storyline with a critical eye to figure out the point where the story begins to stray from its original theme. A great author must be able to honestly and constructively assess even the most exquisite pieces and find a way to make those stories a little better, at least from our own perspective. Identifying the perfect words and phrases to use is one of the critical abilities for writing a fantastic story.

3. Unique Imaginative Ability

The mind is like an arsenal to the prolific writer, and the deadliest weapon in that arsenal is your imagination. Some of the best stories the world has ever read have arisen from brilliant authors combining their personal experiences with their spectacular imaginations.

One particular story that comes to mind is Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The simplistic yet deeply satisfying narrative of this book was created out of the author’s childhood experiences and his superb ability to re-interpret that creatively.

We must remember that being genuinely imaginative involves evaluating our experiences and using the power of our mind to complement these experiences with description. A visionary mind can write a moving script that conveys a variety of emotions and feelings from calmness and tranquillity to fear and violence. This helps make a book genuinely exceptional.

4. Superb Expressivity 

It’s one thing to be imaginative, and another to be able to express your ideas to move your readers to feel the exact emotions you want them to. A prolific author is a master manipulator who can conveniently wield the reader’s emotions in any direction they want.

One of the defining characteristics of brilliant authors is, therefore, their ability to evoke needed emotions in people, such as fear, anger, joy, surprise, and even unadulterated terror. Superb expressivity lies in being able to make the reader feel every emotion. While writing your book, using the most suitable expressions for every context is vital to penetrating your reader’s mind completely.

5. Long-Term Discipline & Commitment 

As an author, it doesn’t matter how talented, imaginative, or intelligent you are. If you are not disciplined enough to set personal goals and stick religiously to them, you aren’t likely to succeed. To become a prolific author, you need to master your mindset.

Writers tend to procrastinate a lot because they are not “feeling creative enough.” However, to succeed as an author, we need to be able to get past our emotions and relentlessly pursue our goals. The truth is, there will always be times when we don’t feel so motivated. 

This is where the line between good authors and legendary ones is drawn. To be truly phenomenal, we need to feel a deep desire to carry out essential tasks such as reading necessary reference materials, typing up our manuscript, and proof-reading our work—all within specific time frames. Discipline and commitment would help us stand out as we reach for the best-seller list.


Writing is one of the purest forms of art. Creating an outstanding piece of art requires you to dig painstakingly into the deepest recesses of your soul. Before you write, be sure to be in your element and to write straight from your heart. With passion and consistency, there is a world of infinite opportunity for the budding writer.

Never forget that achieving excellence as a writer is all about putting these traits into practice. If we are diligent enough to keep trying, eventually, we’ll attain the peaks of creative perfection we dream of.

Rachael Cooper is the SEO & Publishing Manager for Jericho Writers, a writers services company based in the UK and US. Rachael has a Masters in eighteenth-century literature, and specialises in female sociability. In her free time she writes articles on her favourite eighteenth-century authors and, if all else fails, you can generally find her reading and drinking tea!

Enjoyed this article?