Five Habits for a Writer’s Life

You may have written for years; you may have written for days. But if you’re looking for a few new habits to introduce into your life as a writer, here are a handful I heartily endorse:

  1. Write. Yes, okay. That seems obvious. But far too many writers don’t write—myself included, during certain stages of my life. But there are several benefits to writing as often as possible.
    1. Just like anything, the more you practice, the easier it is. If you’re feeling rusty, try to build up your writing time each week.
    2. The more you write, the more natural it is for you to see life through the lens of a writer. Ordinary moments take on new meaning as you think of ways to describe them.
    3. Some days, your only goal is to write something. Knowing that not every day has to provide groundbreaking creativity can do wonders for a writer’s block.
  2. Read. This one is tough for me sometimes. True, I was the kid with three books strategically place for easy access and who would get completely lost in a story. But now, it can be hard for me to set aside time to read. And when I’m in the middle of a large writing project (such as a novel), it’s hard to keep up with a large reading project (such as a novel). But even when I don’t realize it, I’m still reading. I catch myself reading signs, headlines, articles, blog posts . . . anything to fill that reading void. I’m finally giving myself permission to read small things when life gets busy. And I’m starting to carve out more time for reading books too.
  3. Prewrite. No, I’m not necessarily talking about creating a graphic organizer such as the one you had to fill out for your fifth-grade composition class. For me, prewriting happens when I’m doing chores, taking a walk, talking it out, daydreaming in the car (whoops), and so on. But I rarely sit down to write something before I’ve had a good deal of time to think about it first.
  4. Snack. Ha! Okay, maybe that doesn’t help you much, especially if you’re still keeping your resolution for healthier eating. But do make yourself comfortable when it’s time to write. For some, that’s a quiet office space. For others, it’s a bustling coffee shop. For me, it depends on what I’m writing. Just make sure you have the right music, atmosphere, and sustenance to keep you seated long enough to get something accomplished.
  5. Talk. Talk about your writing with someone. It may or may not be with a fellow writer. During a workshop, over a group chat, in the middle of a walk, talk about your writing. What are you writing about? What goals do you have? What troubles are you facing? Even if the other person(s) don’t have any advice for you, the act of talking out your process can force you to work through them.

What habits do you have when writing? If any of these are new to you, hope they help!