Once again, Alicia Lawrence has come up with some great tips for writers. Even with all of the writing I’ve done, her information and suggestions never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Alicia.

5 Habits of Successful Writers

For those of us who venture into the world of prose to lose ourselves in another’s life and experiences, muddling through the reality that is the actual writing of the story can seem almost like, well, a waste of time. What I mean is this: our minds, we know, are so full of the ideas and worlds that we wish to create that the idea of putting it onto paper, choosing words carefully, and going through revision after revision seems oh so tedious, monotonous and like drudgery. I find that my mind works too quickly for my fingers, and thus, I end up losing valuable ideas to the pain of typing something perfectly the first time. This issue, I know, cannot be mine alone, so I must address it in some way. I’ve thus researched and looked into what I believe to be the 5 habits of successful writers, habits that I, too, hope to perfect:

1.Read diligently. To understand the many ways that words can be put together, it makes sense that we must first spend a good amount of time reading how others have mastered the task. Find authors that you admire and dive into their work. I was once told that for every hour I spent writing, I should spend an equal amount reading. Those are good words to live by. 

2. Research. It’s always frustrating to me when I see writers try to tackle subjects that they’ve never tackled in real life. How can, for example, someone write about what it’s like to perform a tooth extraction if they’ve never done one or been in the room when one occurred? My point is this: if you’re attempting to write about something that you haven’t experienced, take the time to do the research. Your readers will thank you. 

3. Give up the clock. Rushed and hurried words cannot a good piece make. If you’re like me and just want to get to the end, take a deep breath and enjoy where you are right now. Delve into your characters and the scenes, and put in too much detail. It’s always easier to scale back, but your point will be coming across much better once you’ve taken the time to examine the scene and character completely.

4. Practice. The old adage that “practice makes perfect” is a good one, though perfection in writing is not easily attained. Learning how to “practice” writing can be an excellent tool for providing yourself with the valuable research you are doing on your piece. Go through character exercises to examine the inner workings of even the most elemental, background character. Once you’ve practiced with background characters, you’ll be more efficient at your main ones.

5. Seek criticism. This isn’t an easy one to do, but it will make you a better writer. Share your work with a few people you trust and get their honest feedback. Be sure that the criticism is constructive and learn how to take it for what it is: an opportunity to improve. After all, you’re not writing to a room full of your clones.

By following these few writing habits, you will find that the work you produce will be much more harmonious with your end goal, which is, of course, to write successfully.