All great writers have habits.
Good habits and bad ones. I am by nature a creature of habit, usually, if I can do something for about a month (maybe 2) then I will do it forever unless someone stops me. So naturally I became very interested in writing habits, and how to form good ones. I’ve spent a lot of time researching to emulate the best practices and make myself a better writer.
Today I am going to list my top 5 for you.
Habit Number One!
Read! It’s so straightforward and fun as well. The more you read, the better you will write, as you absorb all the different styles into yourself and see what works and what doesn’t. Scrutinise everything you read, expand your vocabulary, and keep your style fresh and exciting. You should study as much as possible, and hone your craft, the way you would for any other skill. There may be such a thing as natural talent but that’s only a leg up, it’s not the be all and end all of the existence. You need to practice and learn as much as possible, and the best way to do that is reading, reading voraciously.
Habit Number Two!
Do not wait to be inspired.
Motivation and inspiration are right b*stards, they come and go as quickly as the wind. Do not rely on them. Go and find your inspiration. Take a walk, listen to some music, and put your headphones on and do both. If you manage to write every day, then you will automatically train your brain to kick into writing mode at a particular time each day, and your inspiration will be waiting for you.
Habit Number Three!
Always carry a notebook, either paper or electronic.
Write every day. This is harder than it sounds, especially on those days when you finally get in from the office, your feet are killing you, your starving hungry and smelling like public transport. By the time you’ve had a shower, reheated yesterday’s left over’s and finally sat down the last thing you want to do is write. But if you build a daily habit it will become easier, and over time, you won’t even have to look for inspiration, your brain will naturally click, “oh it’s 8 pm, time to write,” and away you go.
Of course, it can take a while for this to happen but hang in there, it’s worth it.
Habit Number Four!
Practice having a thick skin.
You’ll need it. You will either develop this over time, or you will quit. If you don’t want to stop, then I strongly recommend developing your armour as soon as possible. The way to do that is to send out your writing as often as possible, not always to magazines, agents, publishers or anyone professional, maybe share things with your group, share things on Facebook, post them on your blog. It doesn’t matter where but post it, get feedback, get criticism. The internet being the internet you will suffer some harsh criticism, not all of it will be constructive. But even the trolling will serve a purpose, you will develop that thick skin, or you’ll learn that writing is not for you.
I hope you found these habits as beneficial as I do.