Paperbacks are dead. Writing, however, is still alive and kicking. If anything, writing has evolved into it's purest form — gone are the days where you could only write as fast as your hand scribbled; no longer do you need to worry about Wite-Out. Although the tools for writing have advanced, so have the distractions. Want to write like a Great American novelists? Learn from their writing habits!
1. Set a Schedule
Figure out what time during the day you write best and stick to it! Ernest Hemingway was a morning writer. He was a strong believer in having a fresh mind and minimizing interruptions. I'm a night writer for the same reason; I hate interruptions and write my more thought-provoking pieces between midnight and 3am.
2. Find a Environment
Create an environment that helps you write. Do you work better lying down? Standing up? Figure out what works best and create an environment that empowers you. Lewis Carroll was well known for writing while standing, despite having injured his knee! Standing desks aren't for you? Try a walking desk. Tired? Try lying down. Truman Capote admitted to being a completely horizontal author; and could only think if he was lying down in bed or stretched out on a couch.
3. Get in the Mood
Write best while chugging coffee? Smoking? Intoxicated? You're not the only one! F. Scott Fitzgerald was well known for writing drunk. Interestingly enough, although Hemingway was known for his alcoholism (occasionally with Fitzgerald), he said he never wrote while drunk. On this note, it's important to remember that correlation doesn't imply causation; just because you're an alcoholic doesn't mean you're a great writer.
Wonder which occupational group is most prone to habitual smoking? You guessed it! Professional writers are the most fond of smoking, even more so than coffee or drinking.
4. Set a Goal
5,000 words? 5 pages? 5 hours? Set a goal. Similar to the previous tips, setting a goal builds consistency. Routines make you more productive.
Want to publish 50 novels? Follow Stephen King and write 10 pages a day, even on holidays.
5. Write Every Day
This tip will probably face the most scorn. To be good at something, you need to practice. Even if you're a naturally good writer, if you don't put in the effort, you'll be just that — good. In order to be great, you need to dedicate the time to master your craft; practice makes perfect.
Even if you're Hemingway, not everything you write will be great. The more you write, the more gems you'll find. Even Hemingway acknowledged this:
"I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket."
Write early. Write often. Write like Hemingway.
Do you have any writing tips? Let me know on Twitter (@sebfung).
Like my blog posts? Subscribe.