Work Habits for Writers to Cultivate

Setting a regular writing schedule creates both advantages and drawbacks. Family and friends can often distract from your writing objectives by resenting the time spent writing. Regardless of family pressures, a writer must practice his/her craft on a regular basis. It will take a long time to complete a novel if you wait for convenience and inspiration. Develop the habit of following a regular routine.

Reserve an hour or two each day to work on your writing project. Some writers are more creative in the morning. They value this quiet period while their family still sleeps. Others spend a couple of hours after lunch writing. Still others enjoy writing at night just before bed.

Whatever your schedule and preferences, do it every day, preferably at the same time each day until it becomes a habit. Remain firm in your determination to follow your schedule and plan other activities around it.

Simply reserving the time to write is not enough. A good writing environment, maximizing your time when doing activities and good organization are also crucial.

Writing tools such as paper, pens and software should be kept close at hand. Writers also thrive in different environments. Some need absolute quiet while some enjoy music playing softly in the background. Still others like to have their family nearby despite the noise.

As you move about doing daily activities, such as housework, mowing grass or grocery shopping, you can use the time to review what you have written thus far. This does not work if you sit staring at the television set. It has a way of dulling your brain and delaying the creative process.

Refrain from taking to heart what close relatives and friends say about your work. They tell you it’s great even if they think it isn’t. Undeserved praise is useless and will get you nowhere. Others will pick the work apart and discourage you.

Also keep in mind that uneducated editorial advice and criticism can destroy your confidence. Avoid it.

Use your own editorial skills, slim as they may be, to fine-tune your manuscript. Read dialogue aloud and ask yourself if you would say the exact same thing if you were put in the same situation.

Tighten the text by getting rid of repeated thoughts, as well as words such as “had,” “that” and “and.” Strive to make the story flow. Someday you may be asked to read before an audience and you’ll be glad you spent time tightening the text.