You can’t be a successful writer by accident. The reason for this is that you have to develop as a writer and learn from other writers. It can take years and a lot of sleepless nights before you master it. You also need the guidance of your trusted mentors to help you along the way.
It’s also difficult to be a better writer if you don’t put in work ahead of time. If you wish to be a better writer, then you need to work toward that goal. By achieving this target, you need to develop writing habits and learn from others. Of course, you must be a voracious reader, too.
In this post, let’s discuss some of the habits that you must break to help you develop your writing skills and be a better writer.
1. Thinking you’re not doing it right
If you have the attitude that you’re not doing the writing right, then you’re not going anywhere. Those great writers in the world started somewhere.
What’s important to remember is that they didn’t become brilliant at the start of their career. They’ve made mistakes, and it’s a part of the development. But you need to continue writing each day. Once you become a great, successful writer, the sky is the limit.
2. Copying other people’s work
Plagiarism is one of the enemies of writers and other artists. But it doesn’t just involve copying the words of others. Rather, it also involves copying other people’s ideas.
Although you don’t need to invent new ideas, you relate your opinion about a certain issue or topic in a unique way. It’s difficult at first, but it’s the most interesting part of being a writer, i.e. sharing your unique point of view.
3. There’s no outline
You need an outline to reduce the time you spend on writing. The outline is vital to know the main points of your work. If you don’t have an outline, you’ll miss adding headings, which are crucial in making your writing flow fluidly.
It’s your guide so you can keep writing. With headings, significant parts are divided into small parts to make it easier for your readers to understand the text.
4. You don’t read a lot
If you want to be a better writer, you need to be a voracious reader. Reading expands your vocabulary, and it improves your outlook. It also gives you new ideas and enhances your imagination.
Read at least 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter what book, magazine or publishing format you’re using, as long as you’re reading high-quality literature and not gossip.
5. You don’t have a writing plan
Even if you do have a writing plan, but you’re not sticking to it, it will still ruin your chances of becoming a better writer. It’s one of the mistakes of novice writers. If you don’t have a systematic approach, you’ll never achieve your writing goal. By having a plan and sticking to it, you have something to follow and avoid yielding to your excuses.
If you’re not sure how to write a plan, you can start by making a daily goal to help you control your writing process. Write for at least an hour or two every day.
Then, while writing, avoid reviewing it until you finish your piece. By the time you’re done writing, that’s the time you review and edit your work to get rid of your mistakes.
6. You procrastinate all the time
It’s another enemy of any writer. But it’s a big mistake to postpone your writing goals to run an errand.
Small tasks in your house can take your time that you must devote to your writing. If you always procrastinate, you’ll never finish what you’ve started. That is, if you’re writing a piece, it takes weeks or months for you to complete it.
Procrastination will also hamper your goal of becoming a better writer.
7. Writing it in your mind
You may think that it’s harmless, but it prevents you from becoming a better writer. The reason for this is that writing some paragraphs in your mind is the same as eating solely with your eyes. It’s not useful.
You’re also wasting your precious time. Whatever you wrote in your mind won’t look the same when you’re actually writing it. This habit will also make it difficult for you to write and complete your piece because you’ve completed it in your mind.
Instead of writing it in your mind, write it on a piece of paper. Every time an idea comes in, jot it down. That’s why it’s always a good idea to bring a notebook or paper everywhere you go because an idea can strike anytime.
8. You’re still writing when you’re sleep deprived
Sleep deprivation won’t do any good to your writing skills. If your mind is dried out, there won’t be ideas that come out. Depriving yourself of sleep causes chronic fatigue and depression, which are factors that affect your writing ability.
When you’re finishing a novel, make sure that you sleep at least six hours per night. Then, devote at least three hours for writing your piece.
For three hours, have a break for 30 minutes every one or two hours. Also, make sure you’re exercising for at least 30 minutes. Physical activities, like jogging and walking, can help in relaxing your mind so it can accommodate new thoughts and ideas that are useful to what you’re writing.
9. You’re working in one place
It is a bad idea. Working in one place will make you rely on particular conditions. Be flexible enough.
You must learn to write in a coffee shop, busy streets, park and other places where you encounter several obstacles. It’s vital because the best writers in this world can still write cohesively despite the noise in their surroundings.
That said, don’t limit yourself in one place. Explore and discover new areas in your house or community where you can write. The best thing of it all is that new sites will give you new ideas that can help your writing.
10. You don’t find inspiration
Writing is an art. You need to discipline yourself to cultivate your writing skills.
However, it also needs for you to rest and seek inspiration. In this way, your creativity won’t run dry.
When seeking inspiration, it means you need to step away from your laptop or desktop. Go for a walk. Visit places you’ve never been before. Travel a lot.
Becoming a better writer requires you to write every day. But sometimes, you just need to free yourself and glance at your surroundings. Doing so will help you create something more wonderful.
11. You’re not seeing your family and friends
Your family and friends are your greatest source of inspiration. It’s true that some of the best writers in this world isolate themselves and ignore the people they love just to complete a book. However, other writers become successful because they neglect their family and friends who support them.
If you’re a parent, you can still be a better writer and a parent at the same. Isolating yourself from your family and friends will only result in severe mental problems, which can affect your writing skills.
Catrin Cooper is an edtech guru from New York. She loves science fiction and yoga.