Your writing success is mostly a matter of habit. A little luck doesn’t hurt, but without effective habits, any success will be short-lived.
I’m coaching a group of writers, and created this “habits list” for them. I hope you find it useful.
1. Writing daily
“Writing daily” should be an obvious habit for a writer. However, building a writing habit requires that you build a writing process which works for you. I spent many years without a defined process. This led to stress, much procrastination, self-doubt, and many missed opportunities.
I didn’t write as much as I could have written. You’re a writer, so your writing comes first every day.
Here’s the thing about daily writing: it will make you happy. Your happiness is your success. Whether you’re making $5,000 a year from your writing, or $500,000, your happiness is the true gauge of your success.
When you have a good writing process, daily writing is effortless, and your success follows.
2. Discover yourself in your writing
All writing is discovery. Keep writing. Only your writing can show you where you need to go. Without the “write daily” habit, you can’t discover yourself.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself and about life from your writing. Be open to that by:
- Acceptance of your writing;
- Developing courage when you’re writing isn’t as good as you consider it should be (writers are rarely good judges of the quality of their writing);
- Setting high goals for yourself.
3. Create and maintain a writing schedule
Do you have a calendar program? Use Google Calendar if you haven’t found one which suits you, it’s free. I use several programs to maintain my schedule. Completing my daily To Do list is a habit. Make it your habit too.
4. Read every day
Writers read. It’s part of writing. I took a speed reading course in the late 1980s; it was a great investment of time and energy which shows its value every day.
Make notes on what you read; be an active reader.
5. Build your platform (readership)
Your writer’s platform is your readers. Developing your platform is an investment in yourself, which grows in value.
6. Learn how to edit your writing
You’ll know you’re a professional writer when you can delete whole chapters without agony because you know it’s necessary.
I was lucky enough to work with some wonderful editors early in my career. Working with editors helps you immensely, however your first editor is always you. Be willing to edit your work. Editing is HUGE. If you’re a new writer, you’ll develop editing skills slowly. Do what you can.
Editing is a habit which will pay off for you, because your writing will improve dramatically.
Enough said: blog. It’s a habit. Acquire it.
8. Review your goals once a week
Got goals? If you don’t have at least one goal, create one. Review your goals each week, and adjust them as necessary.
Journaling is like blogging. It’s necessary. You’re tapping your creativity. Remember “writing is discovery?” You know much more than you think you do: your writing develops from your subconscious mind. Journaling is like receiving letters from yourself.
If you don’t yet have the journaling habit, develop it by spending five minutes a day on it. I promise you those five minutes will pay off for you in many ways.
10. Market your writing
Daily marketing is a habit. It will seem a chore initially. Then it will become fun.
So, there you have it. They’re my top ten most effective habits. Each of them is powerful. Make them yours, develop your own, and have FUN. 🙂
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Resources to build your writing career
Updated: May 10, 2019
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