Seven Habits of Successful Writers

Okay, I’m not really a fan of prescriptive writing advice. I think every writer should find out what works best for them and then, go with that. That said, a few, carefully-nurtured habits can transform your writing and make you a more productive writer. So, here goes.

Start the day with prayer

The first thing I do when I wake up is brew my coffee and read my Bible/do my devotionals. Doing this reminds me of the important stuff and also helps to focus my mind on the day ahead.

So, if you’re yet to develop a prayer habit, try starting now. It really does help you to focus.

Set a writing target

I write all day. But, it’s mostly write corporate stuff. When I get home, my creative writing work starts. Depending on my work schedule or deadline, I set myself realistic targets that I can meet. This might be an hour of creative writing that day or a daily count that will help me meet my manuscript delivery date.

What is a realistic writing target for you? Find out what it is and try and keep to it.

Have a routine

I’ve been told that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Having a writing routine will help you develop a habit that will serve you well in the long run.

No, this is not one of those how-to-develop-a-routine articles. It’s up to you to figure out which writing routine works best for you and stick to it.

Your routine might be writing a page of your latest work the minute you open your eyes.

It could be firing off 100 words after the kids have gone to bed. It doesn’t matter what it is. The most important thing is that it is consistent and helps you to be productive, so that you can meet your writing goals.

Stop waiting, start writing

I’ve been on this writing journey for a long time. Along the way, I’ve met people who’ve spend money on a gazillion writing classes, but have yet to write a single page of their own work. I’ve met people who let their writing dream fall by the wayside because of the pressures of life. I’ve met people who deflected any questions on following their writing dream with ‘I’m waiting on the Lord’.

If this sounds familiar to you, stop with the excuses. Pick up the pen, pencil or keyboard, and start writing. The most important thing is the writing, not the quality of the writing itself – you can get to that later. But for now, just start writing. And you’ll find, just like millions of writers have found, that God will meet you halfway.

Pitch your work

Rejection is a part of the writer’s life. Professional writers know not to take it personally. Manuscripts and article ideas are turned down every day for a variety of reasons, some of it related to the quality of your work, and others, not. It’s just the way it is.

If you let your fear of rejection or failure keep you from sending your manuscript to publishers or pitching your ideas to editors, how will your work be discovered? In any case, what’s the point of hiding your light under a bushel?

Have a blog or website

A blog or personal website is the best way to showcase your work and also demonstrate your writing ability.

Wherever possible, try and have your blog on your website. That way, you can have your online portfolio in one place and also build up an audience for your work.

Read, read and then, read some more

By reading other people’s work, you can get a sense of what works and what doesn’t and use that knowledge to inform your writing skills.

So, there you have it: seven habits of successful writers. Now, go away and start developing some productive writing habits.