It is important to form great habits in whatever you do. Whether it is habits regarding your physical and emotional health or habits regarding your career and hobbies. The best way to improve your writing is to form habits that improve your writing experience, as well as improve your writing quality.
Here are 7 writing habits that all beginner writers should develop!
Pin for Later!
1. Daily/Weekly Writing
One of the best habits is forming a habit of writing regularly. Yet, while it may be the most obvious, it certainly isn’t the easiest habit to form. The world is filled with many distractions and addictive apps and entertainment services.
That is why most writers find it difficult to write every day.
Of course, it becomes even more challenging when you add one’s responsibilities on top of these distractions. Suddenly, the day is full of things to do and there isn’t any time to write.
Nevertheless, if a writer can find or make the time to write at least once a week, they will visibly see progress in their writing as time goes by. Something that is difficult to notice and be satisfied with if you only write once a month.
2. Experimenting with Different Methods
Another great habit is simply experimenting with different writing methods. It’s a habit that is especially important for beginner writers as most will not have a great idea of what their writing style is.
Even experienced authors learn something new every time they branch out with styles and genres. Writers can learn a lot by challenging themselves with their weakest genres. Learning new methods will help a writer create better scenes and find their unique style.
The best method for experimenting is writing short stories. It allows you to take a break from your current novel and work on something different. If the variety is not enough, the practice will more than makeup for your time! A different story, especially one written using methods you learnt from another author, will surely challenge your imagination and add to your skill set.
I recommend experimenting with short stories for all my students. It’s a practice that does their writing style a world of good.
3. Taking Breaks Often
One of the biggest problems that writers face is burnout.
Burnout is most commonly caused by writing too much or placing too much pressure on yourself when you’re writing. What starts as a relaxing activity can easily become another stressful experience. Suddenly, it’s difficult to start writing, whether it is getting your mind into writing or simply sitting down to write at all.
The solution is to take breaks often, to treat writing as an enjoyable activity rather than a chore that you have to get around to doing.
While it is admirable, and sometimes necessary, that certain writers use sheer willpower to get into writing and keep up their progress, for most writers this is not a good idea. On the other side of the spectrum, some writers don’t write unless they feel truly inspired to do so. Inspiration doesn’t hit someone every day, week, or even every month, which is why their progress is very slow.
The habit most writers need to form is simply knowing when to stop writing and let your mind recharge with something mundane or relaxing. If you plan to write every day but are prone to writer’s block or burnout, try setting a certain amount of time for you to write.
When it comes to writing every day, half an hour to an hour is plenty of time, especially if you have other responsibilities.
4. Replan Scenes When Changing the Plot
Changes tend to be made all the time during the writing process. It could be a new idea forms and it is better than the original, or the logic of the world doesn’t fit the plot, so the story needs to take a different path than the one planned out.
The most thoroughly planned novel ends up being the novel itself. There is only so much you can predict without writing the whole novel out.
With that in mind, when changes occur it is best to take a moment and go through your planning. Check the steps in your story timeline and see if there isn’t anything that contradicts your change. If the change is so impactful, it might be best to replan the rest of your novel before proceeding, so you can get a better idea of the story and the changes that are made.
This is a much better habit than making the change than forcing the story back into the plot you originally planned or continuing without a plan at all. (In this case, it also depends on how much of your plot this change contradicts as well as how much the story has already been written.)
5. Don’t Overdo Your Descriptions
A classic mistake is overdoing descriptions. While flowery descriptions are great for descriptive writers, even popular descriptive writers know when to be descriptive and when to be straightforward.
Most beginners believe that if they create more flowery descriptions they will seem like better writers than they are. However, the process is a little more nuanced than that.
For example, certain descriptions will affect the impact of a scene and change its pacing. For this reason, more descriptive sentences are typically used during the slower moments, whether it be a more relaxed scene or a suspense-building scene. Longer descriptions also affect the impact of some scenes, but that comes down to the scene itself.
That is why the popular writing style in novels today is the simplistic writing style. It requires more of the reader’s imagination when picturing the scene, but it’s still an effective writing style.
Yet, no matter the writing style you choose, you must form the habit of keeping lengthy descriptions in check. Review the scene, the actions and emotions of the characters. For beginners that use descriptions to ‘improve’ on difficult areas or add to their word counts, this is a very important habit to develop.
6. Cutting Down on Unconstructive Activities
It’s a habit that everyone knows they should form. The unconstructive activities tend to be the most enjoyable, which is why it’s difficult to cut them out completely. Not that you should, one should always have time to relax, but most can certainly cut down on these activities.
Luckily, writing tends to help people form this habit. When writing is approached as an enjoyable activity, it’s easy to spend more time on writing than doing something unnecessary.
When I first started writing, I ended up cutting a lot of activities out of my day-to-day life. You can’t shirk your responsibilities, but you sure can make good use of your free time when you are working on a creative project rather than watching reruns on TV or YouTube.
7. Reading Books with a Writer’s Eyes
The final habit that will do beginner writers a world of good is simply reading like a writer, rather than an average consumer. Again, this is a habit that will develop as you become more passionate about writing, but you can start any time you want to.
Some of your might already be reading like a writer. Whether you stop to admire a segment of writing, enjoy the structure of a dialogue or even frown at problems in the writing, you are reading like a writer.
As a writer, you will start to see the methods that an author often employs. It is easier to understand the logical flow of the plot, easier to recognise the pacing of a scene and so much more. Reading will still be an enjoyable pastime, a relaxing hobby, but now it is something that adds to your writing toolkit.
An ideal activity for a writer, that much we all know, but made much better when you consciously learn from other authors writing.
When I started writing, I had plenty of bad habits and few good ones. It was easy to spot what I was doing wrong, but figuring out how to resolve those problems was difficult. It came down to developing these habits which improved every aspect of my writing experience.
If you have any writing good habits you picked and want to share, let me know in the comments. I’m always interested in learning how other writers improve their writing and their experience.
Thank you for reading and as always,
Good day, goodnight and happy writing!