Most writers dream of writing for hours on end each day, publishing multiple books, and seeing them climb to the top of bestseller lists. I say “dream” because all of this is much easier to think about than to do. It takes a lot of drive and determination to make these dreams a reality, but it can be done! Out of numerous successful authors and their helpful writing tips, here are a few tips constantly being suggested over and over again.
Consider adding some or all of these 7 habits into your daily life. If you do, you’re sure to see an improvement not only in your writing process, but in the end results, as well.
You’ve heard it before. You’ve experienced the benefits. But for some reason, the days can roll by without you ever picking up a book. Authors can get so involved in our own writing projects, that we forget to soak up the works of others. Reading about your subject area as well as branching out into other topics allows you to create a deeper foundation of knowledge and fresh ideas. Read to rejuvenate your inner writer and keep your style from becoming stale. The undeniable power of reading is what inspired you to start writing, right?
2. Schedule Your Writing Time
Decide when you’re going to write. During the day? After work? On the weekends? For a few hours? For 15 minutes at a time? Be specific and allot time for yourself to sit down and focus only on writing. Commit yourself to your schedule, track your hours if you need to, be a boss to yourself. After a bit of practice, your diligence will pay off, while helping you better estimate how much you can produce in a given period of time. This will help you meet deadlines and successfully make goals for yourself. Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration – teach your muse to show up at a particular time.
3. Set Goals
The natural next step is to set goals for yourself once you’ve scheduled your writing time. Start by making easy-to-achieve goals so you can always step away from your writing sessions feeling successful and productive. Whether you decide to write a couple pages or a couple chapters, make sure you complete your goal. If you’re having trouble finding the time to write without distractions, try getting up a littler earlier or staying awake a little later until you can fully complete your goals.
4. Manage Your Environment
What is your ideal writing environment? Where are you most productive? I prefer writing in a coffeehouse setting with the dull din of people’s conversations and coffee grinders bleeding into the music playing through my headphones. Do you write in your car on your lunch break? In a quiet room of your house? The backyard or a park? Wherever it is, find or create the right space for you to be the most productive in your writing zone.
5. Set Boundaries
If writing isn’t your full time job, it can be hard for family and friends to give you the space required for you to devote yourself to your writing. Your loved ones must accept the fact that your writing is important to you, though. While it may take time away from them, be firm in your belief that writing is more than a hobby, but a calling and a passion. Demonstrate devotion to your craft by helping them understand how important it is to you. If your scheduled writing time provides too many distractions, work with the people in your life to find a more suitable time or space.
6. Finish Your Drafts
Be sure to finish your first drafts! Don’t spend too much time over-editing small parts of your work without ever actually finishing the piece. You don’t want a perfect first chapter, only to have an unusable remainder of a book. Finish your draft, then go back to polish and fine tune each section. If you’re rereading what you wrote during your last session, go ahead and make a quick edit or two, but don’t delay the completion of your overall writing goals by over-editing your first draft. Leave the nitpicking for the second draft.
7. Love Your Readers
Love isn’t just a feeling, as you know, but an action. Take the time to show your readers how much you appreciate their commitment to reading your work! Let their support encourage you to continue doing your best work. But don’t stop there. Take the next step and communicate with your fans. Make yourself available to them – provide an email address and always reply to their messages, host a Twitter Q&A, answer questions on your blog or Youtube channel. Be honest, insightful, and never condescending in your replies. Be the author you wished you could talk to at the start of your career!