10 Writing Habits for Creative Writers
This last Monday, I went wake surfing with my dad and his fiancée. Being out on the lake is one of the best ways to spend a day off. Family, sunshine, and smooth, glassy water. Wake surfing is a lot of fun, but super challenging. I had a lot of trouble getting out of the water. I got the rope yanked out of my hand, I face planted...multiple times, and drank so much lake water, I'm surprised I'm not a fish. I gave up. I told my dad that I quit and to pull me back into the boat. "No you're not," he said. "Don’t quit just because you can’t do it,” and well, my daddy didn’t raise a quitter, so I tried again and eventually I did stand back up, because I didn’t give up. Even when we fall, when we hear no, we have to have the courage to keep getting up and trying until we hear yes. Here are some writing habits to help you do just that. 1. Make writing a habit. Write at the same time every day. Make it so that writing becomes something that you can’t imagine not doing every day. 2. Don’t wait for certain conditions to write. If where you normally write is too noisy, if you’re not in the mood, if it’s too gloomy out or there’s too much sunshine, oh well. If you wait until the conditions are perfect to write, you’ll never write. Write no matter what the conditions. 3. Turn off your cellphone. Unplug from the outside world in order to focus on what your doing. If you have your cellphone sitting next to you, you’re likely to check social media, or text your friends. Don’t let yourself be distracted. 4. Along the same line of thought, disconnect from the internet. Whether you work on a computer that doesn’t have internet access or go the old-fashioned pen-and-paper route, stay disconnected to keep yourself focused on what you’re doing. 5. Don’t worry about how good the first draft is; just worry about getting words down on paper. Worry about how good it is, the proper word choice, if there should be an extra character or a scene cut during the editing process. 6. Get out and get some fresh air. If you sit at your computer screen writing for 8 hours a day, you’re bound to go crazy! Or get writers block, which will make you go crazy! Get up and walk around, go to the gym, take a walk around the block, do something besides write every few hours to give yourself a little bit of a break. 7. Experience another art form. Whether it’s photography, music, dance, painting or drawing, other art forms can help inspire the creative juices in your brain that encourage you to write. 8. When you’re feeling stumped, look for certain writing prompts to get your writing juices flowing again. 9. If you’re having problems writing a certain scene, skip it. Move on to a different scene and come back to fill in that hole when you’re feeling a little more creative. 10. Finally, you’ve finished your first draft. Seek feedback from your friends, family, and peers. Listen to their suggestions and reread your work with their comments in mind. Though it’s not on the list, one of my favorite things is to write with a friend. Start off your story with a couple paragraphs, a couple pages, just go until you feel stumped, and then send it to your friend and let them pick off where you left off. Writing back and forth can produce some great results because it sparks new ideas every time. So grab your writing buddy and get to writing! If you don’t have a writing budding, feel free to comment or drop me an email; I’m always looking for new writing friends! :)
Originally published July 13, 2018.