Want to know the secret to changing your habits and becoming a better, more successful writer? Start small. Making little adjustments to the way you live now can pay big dividends in the future. Give these very easy habit changes a try!
6 Easy Habit Changes That Can Lead To Success
Avoid distractions that drain your creative energy. Sure, it’s easy to plop down in front of the television after dinner’s done and the dishes are clean. But do mind-numbing commercials really make you want to get up and write? Pay attention to the things that are not helping to improve your creativity, then steer clear of them. A sticky note posted on your TV can serve as a reminder that you should be writing—not watching reruns or playing video games.
Keep your promises. Failing to keep promises that you make to yourself—no matter how “silly” they seem—can also affect your commitment to your writing. Keeping the promises you make to yourself will ensure that you’re more accountable to do such things like send a specific number of submissions to agents or finish writing a certain number of pages.
Read something inspiring every day. It would be great if we all had two hours a day to dedicate to reading like a writer. But for most of us, that’s not realistic. The good news is, you can cultivate a creative frame of mind by reading in small doses. Carry your favorite novel with you to read while you’re waiting to pick up your kids or while you’re sitting in a doctor’s office (you may finish the entire book!). You can even listen to an audiobook when you’re cooking dinner, driving to work, or exercising.
Mind your mind. Paying attention to your thoughts can lead you to make better choices. But learning to be mindful takes time. To start, dedicate a few minutes every day to being aware of what you’re thinking. Your “mindfulness minute” can happen when you’re brushing your teeth, shaving, or taking the dog for a walk. Don’t judge or try to “correct” yourself; just be conscious of your thoughts. Knowing your own mind is the first step toward changing any negative mental patterns that may be holding you back.
Take five seconds a day to visualize. Each day, pause for one moment and hold the vision of your success in your mind as specifically as possible. You can use visual cues to motivate yourself—try a dream board, a note on your fridge or dashboard, or even an inspiring wallpaper on your smart phone. The important thing is to stop once a day and remember, cherish, and honor your own dreams. When your goals are clear, you’re more likely to find your way to what you want.
Surprise yourself. Do something that forces you to step out of your comfort zone, whether it’s listening to a new radio station, cooking with a new recipe for dinner, teaching a class…or even skydiving! Broadening your experiences will help make you a better, more creative writer.
Photo by gr33n3gg
QUESTION: What’s one of your positive habits that might be useful for other writers? Please share!
Something I learned at a seminar years ago was to commit 15 minutes a day to doing somethng to further your writing goals.
When we think of writing a novel, getting it edited, getting it accepted by an agent, getting a publishing contract, etc., etc., it can feel overwhelming. For some people, it actually shuts them down creatively, or becomes an artificial barrier to doing anything at all. And that’s when the doubts can creep in; the mind is a very creative kind of goo, where avoidance of a task can itself generate what appear to be valid reasons for avoiding — like, I’m not good enough, or creative enough, or “whatever” enough.
Enough! Write like nobody is going to read this and use number 1 above to keep a promise to yourself to dedicate 15 minutes a day — could be writing, rereading what you’ve written, sending off a query, anything that furthers your goal of getting published. And if you go over the 15 minutes, great.
Hope people find this helpful.
Sticking to your goals or even to a pyramid of your goals is – like keeping promises – necessary. It creates a sense of discipline and some kind of (illusory?) independence from “Powerful Literary Selectors”.
There are many tricks. For instance, Hemingway did not allow himself to read an highly interesting feature in a newspaper until he did not finish his daily portion of writing.
With my Best Wishes, Leon.
One of the practices I forced on myself when I was sick of interruptions was to set up the first two hours of my day to write. I do not leave my bed for the first two hours. Fortunately, I have time in the day later to continue. Once I’m out of bed in the morning, I find I do everything else for everyone else and the day gets away from me and I’m writing at four in the morning not having slept yet.
I still love starting my morning with Morning Pages, writing out what is on my mind and leaving it at the page prior to starting my day. I find that I feel refreshed after the pages because I’ve dumped all the negativity on the page and left it there!
Thanks for the reminder….sometimes as writers where your work is not immediate, people see you as wasting time and not getting REAL things done. I feel guilty for reading, or being on the computer looking up articles/research, and yes, Writing! This helps put things in perspective. Thank you.
It may sound silly but I write my first draft by hand. It makes me feel that much more connected to my words.
Awesome piece, detailed and insightful…