Updated: Jan 24
Hello community reader,
Welcome to our ‘Everything You Need to Know to Be a Successful Author’ Blog.
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the few precisely crucial habits every successful author needs to master to stamp their name in history and make it in today’s book publishing industry.
Our topic of the day is: 9 Simple Habits to be the Perfect Writer (Part 1).
Have you mastered any of these habits below? Which of the following work ethic do you need to put more effort into? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
If your goal is to replicate Stephen King’s success with horror and fantasy novels -- many of which have been turned into movies and television series, or J.K Rowling’s record sales of more than 500 million copies of the Harry Potter series three years before the twenty-first century in 1997, then you are either one of two kinds of people when it comes to writing.
You’re either a procrastinator dwelling in dreams of grandeur, or you’re a doer. Why? Because it's such a lofty goal that in order to succeed you must either work extremely hard and give it all you’ve got or you’re better off not doing anything at all. There is no in-between.
1. Do not wait for Inspiration
This is arguably the least obvious rule of thumb when it comes to writing. In fact, most people and so called experts never talk about it. They would rather put the blame on writer’s block -- a fictional excuse that only appeared in our dictionary after so many incompetent writers complained about it because I kid you not -- they “ran out of ideas.”
At Alpha Book Publisher, we do not believe in writer’s block. As we discussed this in our article, “Why is Writing So Hard?” writer’s block is a figment of the imagination. Humanity has a tendency of finding things to blame, whether real or abstract - and the term writer’s block can easily fit into this mold.
Instead, we trust that being unnecessarily dependent on inspiration is the more likely culprit that’s keeping you from finishing your story.
Most writers are overly reliant on waiting for the right time. They put too much stock in inspiration and as a result, they wonder why they can’t get past page one.
It is not enough to just sit down and write whenever you feel like it. Stop waiting for a better time and place to write. In the long and arduous game of writing a novel, inspiration is not always your friend.
Yes we can safely admit that inspiration is the fleeting spark of motivation that propels you to think of an idea and blossom it into a story, but you cannot rely on it to finish that story.
You must step outside of your comfort zone. And how do you do this?
By writing everyday even when you’re not in the mood.
Let’s face it. When you have to rely on the occasional stimulation of the brain every time before you write your story, then you’re not working out your brain. You’re just thinking.
And by not working out your brain, you’re not taking a risk.
You’re not pushing yourself to new boundaries and you’re definitely not providing your mind with any potential for growth.
2. Persistence is Key!
Let’s think of a scenario when a scientist is going to a lab to create the perfect writer - one who has all the skills and perseverance of a New York Times Best-Selling Author, combined with the wit and use of craft by a writing legend none other than our beloved Shakespeare. Whatever that’s on this scientist’s mind, he must conclude any personality trait befitting his new creation should be the ability to write for long periods of time and be able to maintain this habit indefinitely.
What personality trait are we talking about here?
Yep, you guessed it.
According to the U.S Dictionary, persistence is:
“Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”
It’s origin dates back to the “Mid 16th century from French persistance, from the verb persister; influenced in spelling by Latin persistent- ‘continuing steadfastly.’”
Let's face it.
You will never be a better writer unless you have a set schedule. Why? Because switching back and forth between various styles and formats everytime you write an article will come across as sloppy and of inferior quality. If you were an author you’d quickly lose your readers.
The passion for persistence is highest among bloggers.
And if you want to write just as well as any blogger, we highly recommend you create a set schedule and be able to follow through to it on a regular basis.
To further explore why persistence is such a valuable work ethic, let’s analyse a quote by one of our favorite writers. As Octavia E. Butler once said:
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
The solution here is simple.
Find the time to be alone and write. And make it recurring.
Like an everyday hobby.
A hobby that allows you to forget your phone and online friends.
The fifteen minutes you spend everyday on social media can instead be used to contribute more words to your novel.
Your job as a writer is to produce a document that is polished and professional. A document that is testament of clarity and your experience and use of words. Writing a page today, another one next week and the final page next month is not going to make you any better a writer than if you never started the page. It’s like going out to the gym.
You will not get any thinner or any more muscular if you’re skipping the weight room every once in a while. The solution?
Write 300 words everyday. Too busy for this?
Write 300 words every two days. Still can’t commit to this?
Ok then. Write at least once a week. If it must take you longer than 7 days to produce any piece of content, then you’re likely stretching out ideal frequency limits and potentially missing out on the benefits of sharpening your skills.
This is the one discipline that separates the pros from the amateurs.
3. Read. Read. Until Your Brain Explodes!
Have you read the quote to your left yet? You probably didn't notice it yet.
So here it is:
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one.” This impressive statement was uttered by George R.R Martin.
Do you know who he is?
Don’t tell me he’s a writer because that much is obvious.
George is the creator of the “Game of Thrones.”
He is an American novelist and a short story writer who does really well with his penmanship. All you have to do is watch the “Game of Thrones” to see what I’m talking about. Do you think George got to where he is now simply by writing? Of course not.
There are a ton of benefits to reading.
So much in fact you may already know some of the answers. Here is a list of these benefits - some which we will continue to discuss because they are so important on a variety of levels.
1. Reading adds juice to your writing skills. This may probably come as a no surprise, but if your goal is to become the perfect writer you cannot afford to skip this step.
2. Reading helps your mind fend off brain-threatening diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Studies like the research conducted by ABC News have shown that staying mentally alert will improve your mental health.
3. Reading improves your memory. Think of reading as a workout for your brain. The more you train those upbeat nerve cells running around your head the stronger they become at remembering things.
4. Reading gives a boost to your focus and mental concentration. If you’re going through a Harry Potter novel, you will not get past the first chapter unless you have some level of focus. And if you’re brave enough to get past the first chapter of a Harry Potter novel, your attention to details are most likely to improve.
5. Reading gives you more sleep. When you read, your brain is physically active. So naturally when you read so much and you go to bed, your brain has a tendency of rewarding you by allowing you to sleep more and rejuvenate those reading cells.
6. Reading helps improve your empathy.
7. Reading provides entertainment. Ever had this classmate who spent all or most of the free time at lunch and recess reading? Yup. Now you know. While some people may see it as a boring activity because it doesn’t require any physical activity to go through words, the physical brain is not idle. It’s working, and sometimes your mind deserves to have some fun too. Wink. Wink :)
Our next segment will be: 9 Simple Habits to be the Perfect Writer (part 2), and shall cover the remaining habits you absolutely must take advantage of today.
Before you click on that article though, we have to ask:
Have you mastered any of these habits? Which of the following work ethic do you need to put more effort into? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.