How do you become a better writer? How can you write more, or even better? Well, most people think it’s all about talent. You either have it or you don’t. But that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.
Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt.” What he means by that is that if you are disciplined enough, then you can become a great writer. However, it’s not a light task. Anyone who knows anything about writing, knows that sitting down and putting your ideas into words isn’t an easy task. In fact, it can be so difficult that there is a name for the condition of being unable to write: “Writer’s block.”
If you want to become a better writer, then you need to develop habits that will help you achieve your goals. Thankfully, these habits aren’t difficult to learn or difficult to implement. This list of habits will help you create a writing routine that ensures you’re taking your writing career to the next level.
5 habits of highly effective writers
1. Give yourself permission to be a beginner
As a beginning writer—and as a beginning anything else, for that matter—there’s a possibility you will struggle with writing. You might get discouraged and think about quitting. But it’s important to give yourself permission to be bad at something in order to learn how to be good at it.
This was the habit I struggled with most when I first started writing, and it’s still the habit I struggle with most now that I’m an experienced writer: Giving yourself permission to suck at something is hard! As a beginner, you can forget about trying to be perfect or even great right away. It’s not possible, no matter what anyone tells you.
The freedom you have as a beginner can also help free your mind when it comes time to write each day. If you’re trying too hard to write professionally right off the bat, or if you’re stressing out over producing perfect, publishable prose already, then it will put pressure on your ability to create valuable writing. Remember, you can always edit later.
2. Create blocks of time in your schedule for writing
There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to writing well, but what’s most important is that you take the time to practice. Chances are, you have so many other things competing for your attention, that there will be times when you won’t be able to find time in your day for writing. That being said, we can still use our schedules as an anchor point, and use it as a way to help us make sure we’re doing everything we need.
For example, if I want to write, I make sure to only start whenever I’m motivated. If I am unmotivated in the morning, I’ll wait until the afternoon to start writing. The morning may be dedicated to an early walk to clear my head.
Aldjusting my schedule to working when I’m motivated is a perk of being self-employed, but even when I had a full-time job in marketing, my manager agreed with this philosophy. She said if I ever couldn’t find inspiration, that I should just go work out or take a walk (we worked at a fitness facility).
Plus, when I do start working, I make sure I don’t keep my phone on me when I know I’m about to dive into heavy creation work. When I’m done (or get far enough), I’ll go scroll on TikTok and Instagram as much as I want.
You need time to JUST write. If you need a few breaks, allow them, but plan them strategically. Avoid hopping on your phone during your creative block of time.
3. Streamline your processes
Another habit of effective writers is that they streamline their processes. The best way to do this is with a checklist of sorts that includes all the steps you need to complete in order to finish the piece of writing. Make sure it’s realistic, but thorough—there’s no point in making it if it doesn’t actually help you get it done. Some steps to consider including are: research, drafting, editing, proofreading, and publishing (if applicable).
Don’t be afraid to lean into tools and automation. For example, you can buy high-quality editing tools that will also check your work for plagerism.
4. Embrace feedback
Nobody likes getting criticism. If you can’t take feedback from others, then it’s going to be tough for you as a writer—you’ll always get notes from clients or editors, and if you can’t deal with that, then your writing career is going to have a very short life span.
Getting feedback from someone else can help you see what needs changing and what needs fleshing out in your work. It can also help you see which parts are working well! Just remember that it’s important to take the feedback seriously, and not just ignore it because you don’t agree with it. The whole point is for someone else to be able to see what needs changing or improving upon.
Instead of taking feedback as a personal attack on your skills as a writer, think about it as an opportunity to learn something new! That will make the process much more enjoyable and less of a chore.
5. Stay organized
Organized writers are able to stay on top of their workloads and keep track of their assignments and deadlines. Don’t be afraid to keep detailed records. Learn how to make good use of a calendar, reminder app, or other organizational tool that works best for you!
Take five minutes in the morning (or evening) to go over your schedule, and make sure you know what you need to be doing, where you need to be, and when. This will help you be on time for all the important events that matter to your writing career. Plus, it’ll help you finish projects on time.
Takeaway: If you keep committed and focused, you can make writing into an effective habit
Now that we’ve covered the habits of effective writers, let’s examine how you can develop these traits and make writing a part of your life.
- Know what you want to write about: Reflect on the things that interest you, and think about what kind of content would fit with those interests.
- Be prepared to write: Create a writing schedule or at least know when you will write, making sure it is realistic. Set up a time and place that works for you and stick with it!
- Get focused: When it comes time to actually write, focus only on writing—don’t get distracted by other things like emails or social media notifications popping up in your periphery (either turn them off or close all tabs except the one where you’re typing).
- Keep going: Don’t give up after the first few weeks; if being an effective writer is something you really want to be, persevere! Don’t worry if your posts aren’t perfect right away; just keep going until it becomes second nature!
Anyone can be a writer. You just have to start writing.
Incorporate better habits
Writing is hard, and getting better at it is even harder. That said, we’re willing to bet that you can improve your writing by incorporating these habits into your workflow. Each one of these habits has helped countless writers reach new levels of success. By getting into the habit of doing them, you’ll be able to produce better content across the board.
You might not be able to make real progress over night, but if you give yourself the chance to improve as a writer gradually over time, you’ll get there. And hopefully, this list will inspire some of you to start writing more often and with more success. Writing is a skill that needs to be practiced and honed over time.
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