Okay, so, if you keep up with my newest posts, then you would know I recently covered a bunch of bad habits a lot of wannabe writers seem to have that makes them crash and burn before they really begin. And, in the interest of not only being negative, I thought I would offer some helpful habits that if used will—possibly—increase your comfort toward writing, and your output as a writer. Your mileage may vary of course, and some of these may seem outrageously obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve told these things to “almost writers,” and they did little to follow them.
Writing is about discipline, after all, and these actions take that same discipline to accomplish. But, though that might sound scary, they are not too hard to do, really. And, from them comes useful fruit.
So, with all that preamble gone and done, here we go.
Read a bit every day.
Just, like, read a little. I watch television; I go see movies. Distractions aplenty reach me like everyone else. But, to write, you must know what other’s writing is like. Not doing that, is writing blind—like baking a cake when you’ve never eaten cake. I’m not saying 50 pages a day, or a book a week. You don’t need to do something huge. I mean read like 10-20 pages every night before bed. That’s all. You’ll finish a novel a month at that clip, and if you are a traveling person who has no time for a bulky paperback or a heavy hardcover, well, the world has e-books and audiobooks now, so there’s no real excuse.
Exercise a bit a day.
A half hour is enough. Walk around your block a few times. Go for a calm stroll. Motion gets the brain going and being outside like that is a great time for brainstorming if nothing else.
Write every day.
You know this one. I am including it so you remember it is something you should do. Again, like reading, only a little is needed if that’s all you have time for in your busy life. If you do not stop to self-edit (which is a no-no), 250 words can take under five minutes, even if you do not know how to type.
Finish a mini-project every week.
Sometimes this is not feasible. But, finishing—and by “finishing,” I mean writing, revising, editing, and proofreading to completion—something, even if it is only like 300 words, is a great way to build up muscles that will come in handy later when working with a full book. Plus, learning to manage deadlines is a good skill to have in general, even if you only write as a hobby.
This is for motivation’s sake. In the word mines, it can all seem endless. The task too much to bear. So—though don’t get a swelled head—doing a little daydreaming about people liking your book, and reading your stories, can help keep you motivated. Do not write for fame or glory—those are not common in the literary world—but do imagine it being a possible future. Because it is possible.
Good habits can make good routines and can make good writers. So, if you want to go at this writing thing harder than you’ve done before, consider adopting into your life a few—not that difficult—habits. I’d recommend all of them, as they build on each other, but, if that’s too strenuous: take at least the first three for a spin.
After all, what can it hurt?