29 Habits of Highly Successful Writers

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I like personal development. No, you wouldn’t find me in the self-help section of Barnes & Noble. That’s what Amazon is for. But I do enjoy learning about my craft. About how other authors approach the craft to hone their skill.

Of course there’s no right or wrong way to write. But there are loose guidelines – some similarities between the writing greats. Here’s what I’ve found personally helpful, and the simple habits that some of the most famous authors exercise:

  1. Have a writing nook
  2. Focus
  3. Write down ambitious but achievable goals
  4. Finish what they start
  5. End a writing session knowing what comes next
  6. Eliminate self-judgement
  7. Write first drafts without editing
  8. Edit ruthlessly
  9. Write to express, not impress
  10. Take risks
  11. Stay optimistic
  12. Refrain from comparing themselves to others
  13. Read a lot, and read widely
  14. Work while disconnected from the internet
  15. Be a natural observer
  16. Face the blank page
  17. Write through their fears
  18. Eliminate distractions
  19. Write horrid first drafts
  20. Make time to recharge
  21. Learn from other writers
  22. Be open to outside criticism
  23. Set a high standard of excellence
  24. Write for themselves
  25. Stay passionate
  26. Are consistent.
  27. Pick a time of the day that suits their productivity
  28. Actively work against anything that keeps them from writing
  29. Write

Question of the day: What habits do you cultivate to stay productive? 

4 Comments

  1. Consistency. That’s one I need to work on.

  2. Number 28, work against what keeps me from writing. That would include a great deal of my non-writing life stuff. It’s a big issue to tackle.

    • bdschmitt

      September 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Valerie! You can really simplify this step by breaking it down a little bit. You should have a regular time that you set aside for writing. So, it’s not your entire non-writing life that you need to “work against,” just what tends to encroach on your writing time. For me, I write later in the evening, usually around 8:00pm. So my social life is usually the thing that encroaches on my writing time. So I need to set my goals and stick to those boundaries. For me, I’m happy if I write for one hour. That gives me the ability to be social in the evenings, but also enough time to prioritize writing. If I find myself hanging out with friends every evening and I have no leftover time to write, then I need to work against that tendency and find a healthy balance that helps me reach my goals.

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