Writers who achieve success have a number of habits in common. They make writing a daily priority, and they are highly disciplined.
They also understand that they are lifelong apprentices and learn from reading — constantly. This isn’t just passive reading (such as a thriller while lying on the beach). Effective writers analyze and dissect the techniques of others.
1. Write Every Day
Writing every day is a core habit that successful writers use to hone their skills, push through writer’s block, and build an audience. It might not feel easy to make time for this in your daily schedule, but if you’re serious about your writing goals then it must become a priority.
For example, if you’re on the go and have an idea for a story, try keeping a notepad or journal with you. You might even want to purchase an app that makes it easier to keep track of your thoughts on the go.
2. Don’t Overpromise
Overcommit and overpromising may sound similar, but they have very different meanings. Overcommiting means taking on more than you can handle, while overpromising means making promises that you can’t keep. Both of these mistakes can lead to missed deadlines, disappointment, and damaged relationships.
Overpromising often comes from a desire to please others or a lack of understanding of your own limitations. However, it can also be a result of your own overestimation of your abilities. To avoid this mistake, set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself. Try to finish one project before starting the next.
3. Don’t Worry About How Well You’re Doing Compared to Others
The most successful writers don’t let their egos get in the way of their writing. They understand that every writer is on their own journey and they respect other writers’ opinions.
They also don’t take rejection personally. Whether it’s an overly aggressive editor or a rejected manuscript, they know that rejection is a normal part of the process.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to write. Whether it’s in the morning, at a set time or in an environment that inspires you, make sure to keep up with your daily writing routine and follow the habits of the writers who have come before you.
4. Read a Wide Variety of Books
The most successful people in every field are voracious readers. They read to learn about different industries and how other professionals approach their jobs. They also read to gather new information and to test their own ideas.
Reading a variety of genres will help you to develop your imagination. For example, you can discover how a writer portrays their characters or how they build suspense.
A good book guides you through a fascinating journey and leaves you with a powerful message. It’s impressive when authors can convey this in such a subtle way that you may not even realize it as you’re reading.
5. Understand Your Audience
Whether you’re writing for a classroom audience or a group of people who will read your work on a blog, understanding your audience is a crucial part of writing. But identifying your audience takes time and effort.
The demographic that you expect will read your work can impact the content, structure, and tone of your writing. For example, a letter to a snowboarding magazine is going to have different language and style than a college research paper on the European Union’s gradual move toward a single currency. This is because they have different audiences and expectations.
6. Don’t Overthink
Overthinking is a common problem that affects all of us at some point. It can stop you from deciding and carrying out actions because it raises doubts, focuses on worries and rehashes things in your head. It can also cause you to miss opportunities by limiting your view.
To get over this, try focusing on gratitude and taking small actions to distract your mind. You can also journal to declutter your thoughts and focus on positive self-talk. For example, you can journal about a success from the day or reflect on how great you feel when you succeed in something.
7. Read Your Work Out Loud
The most effective writers may seem kooky, whispering their work aloud and repeating phrases in a monotone. That’s because they’re following a writing secret: reading out loud is the best way to discover how your writing sounds to others.
It also helps them appreciate brevity in a way that it’s impossible to do when you’re just reading silently. Reading out loud can help writers identify awkward phrases and words, faulty sentence structure, and other elements of poor writing.
Many bestselling authors understand that authentic marketing isn’t about self-promotion but about sharing something valuable with readers. They don’t let fear keep them from writing and publishing what they want to write.