Your Ultimate “Do” and “Don’t” List for Developing Writing Habits

Whether you’re new at writing or already an established author, helpful writing habits are an important element of being successful. It’s easy to fall into a routine, but not so easy to guarantee that routine is helping you, rather than holding you back. If you feel like you could be more prolific or efficient, try incorporating the “Dos” and ditching the “Don’ts” from the lists below.

DO

DON’T

  1. Know when to wrap it up – sometimes you just need to finish that first draft before you can start to refine
  2. Read when you can’t write – if you can’t write, then you can at least keep your creativity active by reading someone else’s work
  3. Try to avoid the delete key until the end of your first draft – you never know what tangents could be salvaged for other parts of the work or even for future projects
  4. Start with whatever you’re least looking forward to – get the less fun tasks out of the way (e.g., cold-calling an agent, editing a difficult passage) so you can really focus when you get down to writing
  5. Have different projects on the go at once – some things need to be left to simmer while you get started on, or finish up, something else
  1. Give in to writer’s block – would you let a concept like that stop you from showing up for any other job?
  2. Try to do too much at once – working in bursts with short breaks will help keep you fresh and motivated
  3. Just set goals – actually reward yourself when you meet them!
  4. Let yourself off the hook too easily – without a boss breathing down your neck, you need to be the one to make sure you stay on task
  5. Forget about the weekends – writing may be a nontraditional career but you still need time to rest and reset

How do you stay on task while writing?

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