5 Important Writing Habits
Writing is an art that you develop over time. Some people might say that writing is a natural born talent; however, regardless of what some people might say, writing can be exercised. What you need are not the golden tools—that is, perfect grammar—but discipline and creativity, which can both be achieved and developed with pure dedication. Here are five important writing habits that can help you on your way to becoming a professional writer.
- Setting a schedule
Most well-known writers, from the old age to the modern, follow a strict schedule to ensure they get things done on paper. These writers range from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to Mark Twain and Stephen King. Simply put, a strict daily routine is conducive to great success. As E. B. White said,
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
For instance, Jane Austen used to wake up early before anyone else to play the piano and prepare breakfast by 9:00 a.m., her main household chore. She would then write in the sitting room.
So set a strict schedule to adhere to and write daily, preferably a page a day, and you’ll find your stories finished in no time.
- Understanding that it can be practiced
As mentioned earlier, writing can be exercised or practiced. It’s not a case of “either you got it or you don’t.” You shouldn’t believe things like that because they can greatly hinder your writing. You have to understand that you can practice writing, and all you have to do is just sit down and write. Do not believe fallacies such as the dreaded writer’s block because they’re just going to set you back from finishing your writings.
Read, read, and read. This advice comes from Stephen King. Think of it this way: a writer who reads often will have the right tools and sufficient fuel to string up words and sentences, whereas a writer who doesn’t read won’t have enough “fodder” to use for writing.
Reading is essential in writing because you get to familiarize yourself with how others write and you get more ideas about how to write well and increase your vocabulary.
- Turning off distractions
In our modern society with all those technological advancements, distractions come easily, including your cellphone, your social media profile, social messengers, the internet, your TV set, etc. When you write, turn them all off. This is crucial to get things done. You have to focus on writing first before anything else; otherwise, you’d get too tired or feel too sluggish to write toward the end of the day.
Simply turn them off and write, and you’ll find yourself finishing your stories with ease.
- Remembering that you can always revise
This is usually forgotten by most writers. They take so much time in one part of their story, article, or novel that they don’t make any good progress. Stuck in a sentence? Forgot the “perfect” word? Then go ahead and write what you think is right at the moment and go forward with your writing. You can always come back and revise it. Just remember to mark the parts where you think you need to rewrite.
If that doesn’t convince you, remember what Ernest Hemingway said,
“All bad writers are in love with the epic.”
Because most of them end up not writing anything at all.
Most writers have this tendency because they want to make it “right” or “perfect” at the first go, making something “genius” and “magical” and praiseworthy. This might be caused by fear of rejection or the obsessive want of being well-received.
In the end, what matters most is how much you write and what you write. It doesn’t have to be written with perfect grammar (but make sure it’s acceptable), it doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece, and it doesn’t even have to be right the very first time. Just make sure you write, write, and . . . write!
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