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7 habits of effective writers

Updated on March 6, 2011

7 Habits of Effective Writers

A lot of success in anything comes down to establishing the right habits.

Habit 1: Keep a notebook

Hemingway, Bradbury, Fitzgerald all did it. They had a notebook. Keep a notebook in your pocket or backpack. When Lady Muse favors you with an idea or you overhear a good line - jot write it down. Immediately. Often ideas are like dreams, incredibly real in the moment then disappearing into the mist a moment later. Capture the moment in your notebook.

Jot down overheard conversations. Sketches of people. Rhythmic lines that resonate.

When I sit down to write I like to spend 5 minutes brainstorming ideas in the rear pages of my notebook. It's my idea jar. Some days I have a wealth of ideas and some days none. Today was good and I jotted down these ideas down for stories:

Writing in coffee shops - Review Starbucks
Rammed Earth Article for customer site
Starbucks and Macdonalds: Corporate but convenient
How to eat a chicken wing
Political Economy of Hunger - Was Adam Smith Right?
Good regulation versus bad regulation
Inconvenient Truths
Why I write on Hubpages
Why I write
7 Habits of Successful Writers
The 7 Writers you'll meet in Heaven (Take off on the 7 people you'll meet in heaven)
How to use wireless in a coffee shop

Habit 2: Get out of your head - Read, Listen, Observe

Just like a painter becomes more aware of light, shadows and colour. A writer needs to develop an awareness of the world if he is going to describe it,

Just as an aside, I'm surprised by how many writers are former language teachers, English teaching is a great way to make a living while traveling gaining experiences to write about. I've written a hub about how to get a job teaching English in Japan. Check it out.

Habit 3: Write every day. Or shit happens. Show up anyways.

In each life some rain must fall. There's always an excuse not to write. No excuses, Get in the habit of writing everyday.

Mordecai Richler thought that writers are born not grown. And therefore do not need to practice. Are you born to be a hockey player or was John Lennon born to be a great musician? Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book, "Outliers" that it takes 10,000 hours to make a great artist whether you talk about great musicians from Mozart to the Beetles or hockey players.

Anyway the more you practice writing, the better you will get.

Habit 4: Have a certain output each session, Write a lot

If you want to write as a hobby, then you can get away with only writing a little. But if you're writing on the web for pennies a word then you need to produce. I'm surprised by how much successful writers like Christopher Hitchens, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov managed or manage to pump out.

A lot of success is being in the right place at the right time. The more material you have the more likely someday you'll hit the writing sweepstakes jackpot. Then all the other material will increase in value. Think of Dan Brown and "The Da Vinci Code". When the Da Vinci Code became such a great success, his previous two novel became minor hits as well.

Habit 5: Be part of a community

One of the best benefits of Hubpages is the community. A community with mentors to read to to help develop your skills. And support on those days when you feel like giving up. One of the most rewarding parts of the day for me is signing in and seeing how many people have read my hubs and replying to the comments people have made.

Habit 6: Always be learning.

Habit 7: Enjoy the journey

Make friends along the way and enjoy the trip. The ultimate destination is the same for everyone.


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    • johndvan profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      It's best to always have an emergency pen and notebook close by in case a creative inferno breaks out. You never know when the Muse will hit.

      Taking out my favorite pen and turning to a fresh blank page in my notebook is part of my daily routine. What will life write on the page.

      Thanks for stopping by Maria Celcilia.

    • johndvan profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed the hub and took the time to leave a comment Barbara Kay.

    • johndvan profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for visiting KimberleyMartin keep filling that notebook up. Looking forward to the hubs it leads to.

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      wow i am doing the right thing.. in spite of modern gadgets I still bring my notebooks and pens where ever I go...

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Great advice!

    • KimberlyMartin profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you! I do keep a notebook but had not thought of using it that way.


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