Seven Good Habits of a Writer

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” -John Irving

I came across this quote and instantly it triggered an idea for a blog. I have developed some good habits since I began writing. I am normally fanatical about them but unfortunately there are times when I slack.  With the holidays I have been slacking on those developed habits.  I thought it would be a good time to refresh my memory.  So I am writing down what I feel are the habits of a good writer.

  1. The first thing a writer must do is write.  Whether you feel like it or not writing is the most important thing you can do. If you write on a schedule or if you write when you are inspired you must write.
  2. Write in an environment you control.  If you write better with music blaring by all means turn up the radio, plug in your favorite CD, stream music over a radio station on your PC.  Just be considerate if you write early in the morning and use earphones.  Plug in a movie that inspires you.  Turn on the romantic music or watch a scene from Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze to help you write love scenes. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”  Some might consider this torture (no way) so think of it as research.  Use whatever makes you creative to your advantage.
  3. Find out what time of the day is the best for you to write.  If you are a morning person, grab a cup of coffee or your choice of morning beverage and write.  If you are a night time person, let the dogs outside, put the kids, husband, or significant other to bed and write.  Use your lunch hour and write while you eat.  Run a bathtub of bubbles and lock the door.  Find time for yourself and use it to be creative.
  4. Use whatever tool you have at your disposal to write.  Whether you use a laptop, a Neo, a typewriter or paper and pen.  Find your favorite tool and write.  Most the women in my writing group drag along laptops to writing meetings except for one.  One of our group writes with a pencil and paper until she received an ‘almost fatal’ wound from her arm rubbing against the edge of the table.  You will be happy to know she has since healed, purchased a laptop and is still writing.
  5. How much you write is up to you.  Some writers only find 5 or 10 minutes at a time to write.  Some writers write until they complete the thought or idea they began with.  Other writers stop mid thought leaving their ideas flowing until they can return and pick up where they left off.  For me if the ideas and words are flowing I keep writing.
  6. Be observant.  Take note of your surrounding.  Stop and smell the roses.  Pay attention to strangers.  Listen when they speak.  Learn other people’s life experiences.  Everyone has a story.  Find out what it is.  Eavesdrop on the conversation of the people at the table next to you.  Read the paper and watch the news.  This is where you are going to get ideas.  Writers find inspiration in a lot of different places.  Don’t leave anything out.
  7. Last and most important habit for me is find a group of people who share the same passion for writing you have.  Create a network, share ideas, help each other plot or just get together and laugh.  Writing is a lonely profession which can be a hindrance to creative ability for some writers but other writers thrive in isolation.  Find what works for you.  Ask yourself what makes the ideas start flowing in your head?  What do you need to put those ideas down in written form?  When is the best time for you do accomplish this task?  Create good writer habits and be fanatical about them.