5 Things the Best Writers Do Everyday
Being a writer means always looking for the new story. As a job, it never ends, especially since a lot of it (meaning: most of it) is of the mind. Yes, there are other things that a writer has to do in order to be successful, but writing is at the core.
So, what are the habits of the best writers? What do they do? And, most of all, will you become a better writer by following their habits?
The answer to the last question is both yes and no. As mentioned above, being a writer means writing. So, that would be the first habit that you need to adopt: write every day. Don’t force a great number of words upon yourself – keeping a journal is enough to make sure you exercise your writing muscles every day. If you don’t, you can adopt all of the habits we mention below and still not become a better writer. To conclude, you will become a better writer if you adopt the habits below and keep writing.
So, let’s take a look at the habits that the best writers have.
1. Experience new things
The best moment to start a story is when the protagonist makes a change (or has a change pressed upon him by external means). In romance novels, for example, this change can be just a decision to join a gym. Every new experience you have and the transformation that the new experience brought on in you is a story waiting to be told.
You never know when you will draw upon the things you experience. They say that the best way to write is write what you know – that means amassing as much knowledge as you can. But, it also means experiencing everything that you can. Want to write about a character who is a dancer? Then learn to dance. Immerse yourself into new experiences because you never know what will inspire the next story you will write. Also, your life cannot be all about writing. You also need to go out and live a little. You will tell better stories that way.
2. Seek meaningful lessons
What makes a short story? Act I, II, and III. What makes a short story good? Interesting characters and an interesting story. What makes a short story a remarkable piece of literature?
A meaningful lesson. No, you don’t have to preach. But, if your characters experience a life-changing ordeal that makes them learn something about themselves or life, or compassion, or anything else, really, then you have a great story. But, before you write such a story, you need to look for those lessons even in the things that appear non-important. However, once you start seeking them, they will appear more and more, and as a result, your stories will have a message, will have a meaning. Best of all, when you set to write a novel, these small lessons that you learned to seek everyday will pay off because you will be able to handle even the most difficult topics about life in a way that feels natural.
3. Read everything you can
First, read the kind of books you wish to write. Books in the same or similar genre as yours. Second, read books that you enjoy – even if you’re not partial to writing in that genre. For example, read mystery books, because adding mystery elements and suspense will make any novel more interesting and intriguing.
Then, read novels you don’t think are well written, because you will learn what not to do when writing. Is the dialogue in that novel stilted and unrealistic? Why? Can you think of ways to make it sound better? If yes, then you will be able to use it for your own novel. When it comes to being a writer, reading is half of the work. Learning to recognize good writing vs. not as good writing is a skill that all writers develop naturally. And they do it by reading and paying attention to what they read every day.
Last, but not least: read everything else. Watch movies, read newspapers, watch the news. Listen how people speak, notice how they express themselves in social media, and notice how people sound in emails and messages. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph counts.
4. Learn about writing
Spend some time during the day analyzing your writing and finding what you need to work on. Moreover, even if you think you have characterization down pat and that your characters are very well developed in your stories, make sure to look for ways that you can improve.
There are many different ways that you can learn. There are videos online of writers talking about writing and giving you tips – on plotting, characterization, stringing sentences and paragraphs, and how to make a great story. There are books that you should read, just read and absorb and watch how what you’ve learnt bleeds into your writing.
And, most of all, keep writing.
5. Remember that you’re an artist too
You belong in a community of artists. Never forget that. Never shun going to a museum. Don’t take a rain check when someone asks you to go to a concert. Visit an opera house, watch a play, and visit an art exhibition. Hike on the local trail, or travel to the coast.
Why should you do this?
Because art inspires art, even more than life. Photographs tell different stories to different viewers. Different people see a different meaning in a painting. And a song in a concert might inspire you more than staying home that night would have.
You never know when the next story will come to you. But adopting these habits will make you seek those stories everywhere around you.
Also published on Medium.