5 Habits Every Writer Must Develop

Writing requires talent. Writing requires skill. If you don't have much talent, you can develop your skill.

There is however a third component to writing that every writer can develop and that is forming good habits. What habits do you need to become a writer?  Glad you asked.

1) Write every day.

You want to be a writer? You have to write. You can talk about your plot all day long. You can map character arcs and tell me about your world building, but unless you sit your bum in the chair, you are not a writer.

Don't talk about it. Write it. And try to write every day. Now, notice I didn't say write on your WIP every day. I don't do that. Some days are tough, but I try to write something, a letter, a journal entry or a note even when I can't get to the keyboard to work on a project. Why write every day? Writing something will keep you in the habit of remembering why you are here.

2) Keep a writing notebook. (Or two or three...)

Ideas come in a flash. Sometimes in the mid-night wakings, I have brilliant ideas. I don't need to writ them down, I tell myself.  I'll remember them. They're too awesome to forget. Sure enough, morning dawns and I've forgotten. Keep a journal. Jot down ideas. Keep it by your bedside. It can be digital. It can be a recording device. But I promise you, if you don't record these ideas, they will be lost.

3) Read.

I know this sounds intuitive and what writer doens't love to read? But sometimes I get so caught up in my life that I forget to read. Reading is fuel for your writing. I've heard to read twice as many words as you write. If your word count is 10k for the week, read at least 20k. (For me it's not about reading enough, it's about having the self-discipline to stop reading.)

4) Analyze, analyze, analyze.

Now that I've written it three times, I will never forget how to write it. But I'm serious. While you're reading, try not to get sucked into the story and try to see it as a writer instead of a reader. What is working for you and why? Did something prick at your emotions? What did the author do? If a story isn't holding your attention, what went wrong? Pick things apart. It's okay to critique something just don't be critical. You can do this with writings in your genre, out of your genre, or even movies. I like movies because it's a shared experience and I can talk with family members about what worked for them. Sometimes I get too in my analytical brain and I miss a key emotional point so it's good to get feedback from others.

5) Eat humble pie.

Get ready for rejections. Get used to critical feedback. Be prepared negative reviews. Many things are difficult about being a writer, but the best habit I think you can get into is to not take things too personally. Rejections will happen. You'll get negative feedback on your work, at least I hope you have someone honestly evaluating your work. And not everybody will love your work, even after it's been published. If you get into a habit of positive self-talk, you'll be so much happier. The world is an ugly place. You don't need to be ugly to yourself.

There are more habits. Any writers out there want to share what habits they've developed?  What's worked for you? What doesn't work for you? Do you have a routine you love?


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