If you want to write, start fostering the habits of a successful writer. Get rid of the ineffective patterns that prevent you from exploring your craft the way you want to. Turn off your screens from time to time.
This may be obvious to some of you, but it’s probably counterintuitive to others. After all, how are you supposed to finish writing that great novel if you aren’t disciplined enough to sit down at your laptop and write? But I firmly believe this is an absolute must. If you don’t turn off your screens, you won’t be the best writer you can be. We all struggle to find time in the day to do all the things we need to do. We have to be diligent. Don’t waste time in front of screens you’re not writing on.
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I know that keeping up with emails and social media is necessary, especially for us indie authors. This is our avenue for creating a community around our books. Without it, the few sales we do get, quickly turn into that one copy that your family bought.
But how often do you check your email? How many times do you flip through your Twitter feed or Facebook updates? Did you really need to know that Linda’s dog ate a cookie today? I don’t know Linda or her dog, but I’m guessing it’s not that interesting. Most of us can safely remove a dozen times we absent-mindedly check email and social media every day, at least. I know I can. Remove that mindless urge to check now!
After you’ve taken out some of the senseless internet scrolling, think long and hard about the blogs you visit. (I’m obviously not talking about www.Nothinganygood.com. This little website I’ve created to help support authors is a necessary part of your day, right!?) How many of those blogs that you read are nonsense reads that feed the beast of time-wasting?
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In 2012, Digital Buzz put out an Infographic depicting the number of new blogs that are posted every day—two million. Two Million blog posts were going up every day back in 2012! Every. Single. Day.
Daily blog posts have more than doubled since then. We waste far too much time skimming blogs that we don’t even really want to read. Was it necessary to learn about the 5 Celebrities That Secretly Wish They Were Authors? (Number 3 will shock you!) Stop wasting your time on them. Focus on the posts that will inform your writing, not the ones that will distract you from it.
Finally, turn off the TV! Stop watching YouTube! Shut down Netflix!
I love television and movies as much as the next person. I’m not here to tell you that TV is trash and you’re rotting your brain. You’re not. Television can be fantastic. Movies are wonderful. But stop watching so much. Spend more time exploring and developing your writing skills.
Successful writers foster effective writing habits. The most ineffective habit of an author is failing to write. The second is failing to budget time. If you can’t manage thirty minutes a day to start, schedule in at least a couple blocks of time each week for writing, and when you sit down for that scheduled time, actually write. Don’t waste it on other things.
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There’s budgeting the time to write and then there’s actually writing. All too often we sit down to write and we don’t utilize that time for writing. We fiddle with previous chapters we’ve written. We spend far too much time trying to write that perfect sentence. We hop on the internet to do research for our writing. There will be time for all of that, either while doing research or later on in the editing process. Your writing time is for writing. If you’ve set that time aside, then write. The first draft is never good. Don’t worry about it. Keep writing.
Cultivate the habits of successful writers if you want to become a better writer. Turn off your screens and begin the muscle-building of becoming the writer you want to be.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.