Everyone’s writing process is different, but having some sort of structure allows for accountability, and ultimately effective, productive writing. Here are some writing habits to help get you on track!
Take notes and plan:
Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it, so always have a pen and paper handy or make a note in your phone so you don’t lose your ideas. If you need some help with organization or haven’t fully worked out certain parts of your book, outlines are a great way to categorize characters and plot points or organize paragraphs. Referring to these outlines will prevent you from getting stuck when you go to sit down and write.
Have a schedule:
schedule blocks of time reserved for writing. This is especially important if writing is not your full-time job. Everyone has outside responsibilities that can encroach on your writing. By sticking to a schedule, you will always have that time reserved exclusively for writing.
Set writing goals:
When you are starting a new project, have a game plan to meet certain goals in your progress. Have a number of pages or chapters in mind for the day, week, or month, etc. This will help prioritize your writing schedule and give you accountability for staying on top of your book. Even if you don’t always meet these benchmarks, you will at least have a clearer idea of where you’re at in your progress. Shorter deadlines and goals may be more encouraging and effective than long-term ones, simply because you don’t have to wait to feel a larger sense of accomplishment in your progress. If this feels stressful to you, when you sit down to write, have a goal in mind for that session then go from there.
Read, read, read:
Reading exposes us to different stories, points of view, writing styles, vocabulary, genres, and more. You are writing something that others are going to consciously choose to read, so why would you not take the time to read avidly yourself? Reading can help inspire new ideas and allow for better self-critique of our own writing.
Consider your audience:
Always keep your audience in mind while you’re writing and consider their needs and interests.Does something seem muddy? Read your writing from the reader’s perspective and question how you can be clearer and more concise.
Revise and rewrite:
Don’t feel a sense of urgency to polish your writing as you go. If you find yourself fussing over the same three paragraphs for a long time, make a note and revisit it later. First drafts are all about getting the story down before tackling the small details