5 Essential Habits of Successful Writers — A Guest Post

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Our guest blogger today is Daniela McVicker, a freelance writers and a contributor to RatedByStudents. Daniela has a master’s degree in English Literature and is truly passionate about  teaching. She works with students to help them reveal their writing talents and find one true calling. So join me as we learn more from Daniela. I’ll add a few of my own observations at the conclusion of her post.



Writing pretty words doesn’t make you a successful writer. It doesn’t matter if you’re able to craft sentences with obscure words to describe everyday feelings and emotions. People who use words like that are the worst writers. Success in writing is about delivering your intended message and influencing other people.

Some authors manage to find massive success, while others remain anonymous. And it’s incredibly frustrating. Well, if you want to make 6 figures as a freelancer and win the most coveted literary prizes, it’s time to make a change. Successful writers have developed certain habits that set them apart from the crowd.

To get started, imitate the habits of highly successful authors. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just learn from the best. These are some of the things the most successful writers do. You too will become successful by copying these idiosyncrasies.

1.      They Write Every Day of Their Lives

Spare a few moments to do a little bit of writing every day. Writers are supposed to write. Stephen King tries to get about 6 pages a day. The award-winning writer sets a goal for 2000 words a day and tries to get them fairly clean. Ernest Hemingway wrote somewhere between 500 and 1000 words a day. It’s impressive to see how some authors succeed in getting so much work done.

Try starting higher than you think you can do. You’ll be surprised to see how much you accomplish. If you schedule your time properly, say no to social events, and go to a quieter location, you have whatever it takes to create great work. Don’t wait for the right time to write because there’s never a right time to take action.

Practice makes perfect. Truer words have never been spoken. Keep an unpublishable, private journal where you can scribble your thoughts. Write down what you think about life, things, etc. If you want to be a successful writer, you must establish a writing routine. This may seem monotonous, but it’ll completely transform your work. 

2.      They Practice Being Physically Healthy

Men and women who’ve been blessed with the ability to write great literary pieces look after their health. Why? Because they know that writing is unhealthy. Wait … what??? Yes, when you set off to write a novel or a play you sit at the desk for hours at an end. Lying down for too long increases your risk of developing heart disease. What’s more, too much sitting is bad for your mental health. That’s what science says. Undesired harmful effects include:

  • Weakening or thinning of the memory-focused part of the brain
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Unpleasant feelings or emotions, like sadness, fear, vulnerability

There’s nothing more important than staying healthy. Besides minimizing the time spent sitting, you’ll want to:

  • Pay attention to your posture
  • Give your eyes a break
  • Stretch to eliminate the damage of sitting

Famous writers wrote while lying down. One writer that reminds us of their lengthy and involuntary stays in bed is James Joyce. He used to write stretching across a bed, always wearing a white coat. Truman Capote is another horizontal author. He also practiced writing stretched in the bed. Of course, you can come up with your own interesting habits.

3.      They Connect with Readers

One of the things that set professional writers apart from amateurs is the strong connection that they build with the audience. They understand just how important it is to connect with their readers. People buy from who they trust. Even if what you’re trying to sell is what people need, if they don’t trust you, they won’t take action. Don’t leave it up to the publishers or publicists. Take matters into your own hands, otherwise, no one will read your content.

Engage Your Audience Directly

For communication to take place, someone needs to start talking. Why don’t you take the initiative? Get out of your bubble and hit social media. Social media is an incredible tool in helping you better communicate with your readers. People will provide you feedback on your writing. Talk to readers as if they were sitting right across the table.

Build an Email List

If you have an email list of friends or family who opted in, you might better use it. the question now is: What should you put in your emails? Well, you can share interesting stories. You can’t write a novel in one day, but you certainly can come up with a captivating story about, say, a physical scar. Keep your emails short and pay attention to what readers like and don’t like.

Spend More Time on Your Blog

You’d think that writers aren’t supposed to blog in 2019. Well, they do. Blogging establishes writing discipline, but that’s not what’s important. What matters is that blogging can help you establish expertise in your area and build connections. When you blog, you make yourself available to others. Share content, write guest posts, and offer your support.

4.      They Don’t Write for The Money

As an author, you can make a lot of money. Nevertheless, money isn’t the goal. What is then? Impacting people with your words. Successful writers want to release their complex thoughts and create relationships with the people around. They couldn’t care less about making a profit. Franz Kafka or Marcel Proust never made a dime. Maybe so, but that didn’t stop them from creating literary masterpieces.

You shouldn’t write for money. Successful writers work tirelessly to make a name for themselves. They love writing and wouldn’t do anything else. George Orwell, for example, was driven by sheer egoism. To be more precise, he wanted to be recognized as being intelligent, to be talked about, and, most importantly, be remembered in a positive light after his death.

Sure, you can make cash publishing books for money. However, you won’t thrive if you don’t enjoy what you do. Practice writing for pleasure. Don’t write for your friends, parents or teachers. It’s important to find some kind of pleasure in the process.

5.      They Don’t Wait for Inspiration to Strike

If you’re waiting for inspiration to write, you might as well give it up. You’ll miss a bunch of writing time. Only amateurs sit around and wait for inspiration. Successful authors just put their thoughts into words. They’ve stopped believing in magic a long time ago. As you write, you’ll get your creativity back.

So, what if you scribble a bad word, sentence, or paragraph? You can always come back to what you’ve written and make changes. The only way you can get your creative juices flowing is writing. If you persist, something good will come out of your writing. You’ve got nothing better to do than to take inspiration into your own hands and force something to come onto the page.

To conclude, you have what it takes to become a successful writer. By having these habits, you’re guaranteed to achieve your goals. Emulate the habits of successful authors and become one yourself.

What do you think?

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1 Comment
  • Michael Kahn
    October 25, 2019

    Excellent piece, Daniela! A couple comments/observations:

    1. While I agree that it is a good idea to practice being physically healthy, the sad fact is that many of our greatest authors violated that rule. Two noteworthy American examples include F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner, both alcoholics and both felled by heart attacks–Fitzgerald at 44, Faulkner at 64, Marcel Proust’s strikingly unhealthy lifestyle lead to his early death at 51. And so on and so on. Nevertheless, stay healthy!

    2. Daniela’s Tip #4 is that “Writers Don’t Write for the Money.” While I agree that money is not the prime motivation for good writing, I nevertheless am reminded of that famous quote from Samuel Johnson: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” As a writer and a lawyer, my advice is don’t forget about the money.