9 Daily Habits You Should Get Rid of to Become a Better Writer
How do you know what’s good or bad for you unless it leads to losses or depression hereafter? I call it the self-reflection time when a writer needs to analyze what has been done right or wrong for developing his masterpiece. Today we’ll uncover 9 habits that can actually ruin your career of a writer, blogger, reporter, etc.
There’s no exact timeframe to eliminate bad habits and clear your mind for inspiration. It can vary from 72 hours to more than 21 days because some long-lasting habits are ingrained at our neural level. They can even determine our behavior or outlook.
Which is why self-publishing writers whose success depends on their productivity should get rid of those daily habits which hold them back. Here are 9 of them with explanations and my own writing experience insights.
1. Not sticking to the writing plan
Never rely on the whimsical character of your inspiration. This lady is too weak to bring a masterpiece to the surface. I have the same bad habit – can’t stick to the plan even after I’ve elaborated the perfect one. Of course, it makes me mad because I realize that having this non-systematic approach stops me from publishing an aspired novel. The thing about plans is that you should always follow it without yielding to excuses. Here are three ways you can make yourself stick to your writing plan.
- Make monthly, weekly and daily goals to control the process.
- Write for 3-4 hours each day with one break in the middle.
- Do not review a single sentence until you finish even if you know there are some mistakes.
2. Giving in to procrastination and self-criticism
Forming a steady writing habit predetermines the highest result. Therefore any self-publishing writer should mind deadlines and develop a sense of confidence to what has already been crafted. Procrastination and postponing your writing goals to fulfill other minor errands is the biggest mistake. We have thousands of these small errands each day from cleaning the kitchen to folding clothes, and they will always take that golden time you should devote to writing your novel. Another bad habit is to return to what you’ve written and carp at some parts of your book. Imagine that you have a creative child in you – an internal artist you can offend with criticism. You should protect yourself from its cruelty says Julia Cameron’s in her bestseller The Artist’s Way. Once this book became my manual which helped me form positive habits of write better.
3. Thinking over some paragraphs or dialogues when you are not writing
This particular habit can actually prevent you from becoming another Joanne K. Rowling because writing a book in your mind is the same as eating with your eyes solely. Sure, it’s pleasant but not useful for your empty stomach. What’s most important, you just waste your time because thought-out dialogues will never look the same when they are actually penned. Besides, it will be much harder to get down to writing a paragraph you have already finished in your mind.
4. Writing without enough sleep
When your mind is already dried out, you shouldn’t expect anything special to come out. First of all, sleep deprivation can result in chronic fatigue and even severe depression. When writing a book you should include four priorities in your everyday routine:
- From 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day.
- From 3 to 5 hours for writing a novel with 30-minute breaks every 2 hours.
- From 2 to 3 hours to promote your writing on your own blog.
- From 1 to 2 hours for physical exercises.
5. Giving someone to read your unfinished book
Never ever do that even if the person is the closest to you and can be fully trusted. Believe me; it can ruin your intention to continue writing even if you get the positive feedback. I do remember how my sister was hiding her uncompleted pictures from my eyes so that it didn’t influence the whole creation process. She used to say:
“I don’t want to show it until it becomes something strong!”
6. Limiting yourself with one place for writing
I do recommend you to change places as often as it’s possible. Limiting yourself with one place can serve as a bad habit because you’ll depend on particular conditions. I suppose a writer should free his mind from accommodation issues to devote it to the fictional space of his characters. And I do think a successful writer should be flexible enough or even tempered facing such obstacles as noise or crammed rooms.
7. Dividing your time to 2 or more storylines at once
Even if you have several ideas for different novels, I do recommend you to write a few sentences about those newly born stories, put them in different folders without any exact titles and forbid yourself to think about their characters’ names until a previous novel is finished. Dividing your attention between several storylines can confuse you and make the process of writing a single book by the very end almost eternal.
8. Isolating yourself from family and friends
It’s a myth that to write a good book you need to dive into it and ignore the dearest people who can support you. There are a lot of writers who succeeded being good writers and parents at the same time. For instance, Julia Cameron managed to make an awesome writing career and grow her daughter at the same time. Besides, becoming estranged from your family and friends can lead to serious mental problems. You might suffer from loneliness, depression and even panic attacks.
9. Having bad nutrition and drinking too much coffee or energy drinks
A healthy writer has nothing to be distracted from own writing goals. Taking care of your nutrition habits, you save time on treatment in the hospital and make sure you’ll have enough efforts to finish a novel. Also, one of the most harmful habits for writers is drinking too much coffee and energy drinks while working on their novels. And when it adds up to lack of sleep and unbalanced diet you get a cocktail of self-destruction. These things might help for a day or two, but then you’ll become a veg without any decent ideas to pen.
Veronica Hunt is an edtech expert and an experienced content marketer from Philadelphia, PA. As a blogger, she sees her purpose in providing her readers with up-to-date info in the spheres of marketing, entrepreneurship and psychology. Currently, works for Eduplace as a content manager. Apart from work, she adores traveling and yoga. Follow @VeronicaHuntt or find her on Facebook.