The most successful writers who share their processes often speak of creating strong writing habits. For these writers, good writing habits are a necessity that comes from setting intention in their daily practice.
However, because writing is such a personal and private practice, as many arts are, how do we know what works for one writer will work for another? Consider the following 5 writing habits and the ways each writer can adapt them to their own practice.
Heather’s Writing Habits #1: The Space
For some writers, where they write becomes an important first step to what they write. While a writer’s space might conjure images of secluded cabins with lake views and walls of shelved books, (a very nice image indeed), a writer’s space does not have to adhere to one expectation.
Ways to create a personal writing space
Keep inspiration close
Inspiration is personal to each writer.
We might be inspired by:
- Books, or;
We might also find a perfect pen, or the right notebook helps with inspiration. Whatever works for you as a writer, fill your space with what inspires.
Create space without distractions
Like those things that inspire us, our distractions can be personal.
While most people find themselves easily distracted by cell phones and internet access, others may find a window view distracting. Consider where your temptations exist, to avoid your writing, and free your writing space of these distractions while you work.
Make space within the space
While some writers have ample space to work, others may be functioning in tighter quarters or in space they share with others.
In these situations consider how you can make the space feel specific to your writing time.
Is there a favorite scented candle you might light every time you write? The scent can signify this space is now for writing. Another option might be to change the lighting in the room only for the time in which you write.
Heather’s Writing Habits #2: Routine
Athletes are notorious for having a pregame routine to prepare their mind and body to compete. Singers and musicians are also known for having routines before they perform. It makes sense that a writer might also benefit from establishing routines to prepare them for writing.
Ways to create a prewriting routine
Some writers find benefit in creating a quiet space through meditation before they sit down to write
Reading can put the mind in that state of processing language and benefit the writer before they begin to write
Taking a walk, going for a run, or finding another form of exercise can release tension from the body and allow the writer space in their mind before they write
Heather’s Writing Habits #3: Reading
Reading well helps us write well. As Stephan King puts it, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
A regular reading routine allows writers to be familiar with various writing styles and can strengthen the writers own voice by being exposed to many. Consider the following options for stretching your reading habits.
Ways to stretch yourself as a reader
- Read in and out of your writing genre
- Read contemporary voices paired with the classics
- Read fiction and nonfiction
- Read for other writers in a writing group
Heather’s Writing Habits #4: Writing
While many writers vary on the way they approach most of the habits on this list, most successful writers agree that a daily writing habit is a top priority.
For some writers, this means writing every single day.
For other writers, a day off or pattern of days is important to spend time thinking and conceptualizing their writing.
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The key to creating a strong daily writing habit is consistency.
For the writer who needs a day away from the keyboard to think, read, or research, consider choosing the same day or days each week.
Ways a writer can maximize their daily writing practice is to set goals
- Set a daily word count goal
- Set a daily time goal to write
- Write at the same time every day
- Carry a notebook with you when not writing
- Connect with a writing group on a regular basis
Heather’s Writing Habits #5: Rewards
When all these habits are established, a writer will still find some days more difficult than others to meet their writing goals.
On those days in particular, establishing a reward system can keep a writer motivated. The rewards can be decadent or very reasonable, but like many of the other habits they will be most effective if they align with the writers individuality.
Ways a writer can celebrate hitting a daily writing goal
- Allow yourself time to check email, social media, the internet after finishing your daily writing goal.
- Go for a walk or run as a reward after you finish your writing goal for the day. The writer who begins their writing habit with exercise might find symmetry to their writing day with this practice.
- Indulge yourself with a cup of tea, chocolate, a favorite story.
For all writers, finding what works for them in their writing routines is important to establishing successful habits. Finding time each day to be intentional with writing practice creates a healthy space for both the writers and their stories to exits.
Article Written by Heather Wood
By combining my experience of teaching writing at the secondary level with a Fictionary StoryCoach Edit, I will help you strengthen your story while honoring the care and effort you have dedicated to your art.
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