Doesn't this sound like something your parents would say to you in your formative years? I'll bet a whole lot of us heard this, or something mighty similar. But listen up writers, this is darned good advice.
I was once in a writer's critique group that met at a local coffeehouse once a month. Without going into detail, I'll just say that the majority of the people who attended regularly only wished for success in the writing world. They dreamed of it, they talked about it, and they came to the meeting to discuss this big wish with other writers. Most never brought a story to read to the group so that they could get some suggestions on how to make it better. They were happy to help anyone who did bring a story and they loved talking about being a writer, but that's where it ended. The group finally disbanded and rightly so.
If you want to be a writer, hard work is involved. Write, submit, handle rejection and start all over again. It begins to feel like a pattern being set, and then one day, it's an acceptance instead of a rejection and the pattern is broken. Nothing gives a writer incentive to keep going like an acceptance. You keep working, keep submitting, keep getting rejections, but the acceptances are sprinkled in now and then, too.
I can hear someone saying But it's so discouraging to get one rejection after another. I don't feel like writing anything new because it is just going to happen again. It might reoccur, but it also might not. If you truly want to make it as a writer, you'll keep working at it. It takes more than sitting at the computer and pounding out a new story, article or poem.
Give yourself opportunities to grow as a writer. Try the following:
1. read about writing
2. attend conferences and workshops
3. network with other writers
4. find a writing buddy who will give help when needed
5. join a critique group that is honest and fair with crits
6. read frequently; assess the writing--what about it was good enough to get published?
7. revise your work more than once before submitting
Finally, you might print the poster at the beginning of this post and place it where you see it often. Read it and believe it!