7 Habits Every Writer Should Develop

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7 Habits Every Writer Should DevelopHaving a career in self-publishing is a full-time endeavor. If you have a 9-to-5 job in addition to your writing career, then you have the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

Needless to say, you’re busy.

To succeed in today’s indie publishing arena, writers need to develop the following seven habits.

Stay Informed

One of the best ways to stay informed is to read the following blogs on a regular basis:

  • For overall indie author news, including information about marketing and publishing, read TheBookDesgner.com twice a week. Joel Friedlander’s blog is consistently among the top 10 on the Writer’s Digest 101 best blogs.

  • Want to work on your writing and your marketing? Then you’ve got to read Ruth Harris and Anne R. Allen’s weekly blog. It’s the best blend of rock-solid information mixed with an acerbic tone (at times) anywhere on the internet.
  • One of the best blogs for self-publishers is Jane Friedman’s. As a former publisher of Writer’s Digest, professor, and author, Jane writes an excellent blog of the indie author.
  • Want to boost your book sales? Be sure to read Penny Sansevieri’s blog at Author Marketing Experts.
  • To keep up with nonfiction writing, marketing, and how to find an agent, read Lisa Tener’s blog.
  • And for information on social media marketing and book marketing, you can always read mine.  😉

Listen to Podcasts

Don’t restrict your learning to the written word. There are plenty of great podcasts out there geared for the indie author. Here are some that I listen to regularly:

  • Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn is my top choice. I make it a habit to never miss her show because I enjoy them and learn so much from them. I especially enjoy her personal introductions, which tend to wrap up what’s new in the industry.
  • Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula is also interesting and pertinent to indie authors. For example, a recent broadcast featured David Chesson on how to road test a book idea ahead of time.
  • The Sell More Books Show features Jim Kukral and copywriting expert Bryan Cohen. Recent shows covered buy boxes, Amazon ads, and copyright infringement.
  • On The Author Biz show, Stephen Campbell loves to review earnings reports and get into other aspects of a successful indie author’s career.
  • Serial’s newest show, it’s third season, is called S-Town. No, the show has nothing to do with Facebook ads, successful author stories, or Amazon. But if you are interested in a podcast that has high storytelling attributes and you value investigative reporting that often includes clues to a murder, you’ll love this show. You’ll find S-Town here and you’ll catch the first two shows of Serial here.

Write Every Day

Make a habit to write every single day. According to experts, it’s best to write first thing in the morning, after we wake up. Soon after waking up, we are apparently in a better mood, making it easier to write. We also have more will power.

Also, according to Daphne Gray-Grant,

… the creative brain seems more active directly after sleeping.

I know that if I leave my writing for the afternoon, it seems like drudgery. I can do it, but my fingers seem to fly across the keyboard more smoothly and quickly if I tackle writing projects first thing in the morning. My meditation practice goes more easily as well.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Want to write? Write every day and read voraciously via @Caballofrances” quote=”Want to Write? Write every day and read voraciously “]

Be Inspired

Take in the arts on a regular basis. In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, the author says,

Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.

Take in the arts. Go to art exhibits at your nearby metropolitan art museum or local art museum. See movies, especially ones that will inspire you.

I recall seeing a movie (I can’t remember the title right now) about a German-Jewish family who fled to Africa at the start of World War II. I left the cinema feeling so full of emotion, so grateful for all I have, so sorry for those who truly suffer that I wrote an editorial piece that our regional newspaper published. Don’t shy away from movies like Moonlight; they just might trigger emotions in you that will lead to memorable passages in your writing.

Read Voraciously

Stephen King and other authors have said that if you don’t read you won’t be able to write.

What I do know is that as a child I read voraciously. Reading ignited in me a desire to write and the two, reading and writing, share a symbiotic relationship in my life.

As a former Spanish literature major in college, I’ve spent most of my life reading books that are The Man Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prize, or National Book Award, winners. Over the past year, however, I’ve expanded into genre books, including crime, thriller, and historical fiction novels. By the way, I just finished Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, which I loved.

So expand your repertoire of reading materials.

Learn New Skills

Whether the new skills is Italian, French, or Facebook, learn something new every day. Expand your mind.

The benefit of learning a new language, I believe, is that in learning the language we open our hearts to viewing our world through the lens of a new culture.

Be sure to make some of those skills you learn in the social media arena. Figure out where your readers hang out online and then learn those social platforms. Start with one social media network, learn it until you rock it, then learn another.

Learn about blogging, and how to do most of the work on your website yourself. And learn about video because a Facebook representative recently surmised that in five years, the newsfeed on Facebook would be comprised entirely of video clips.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn new skills and walk or hike outdoors via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Learn new skills and walk or hike outdoors “]

Get Outdoors Regularly

I find that whenever I’m at a juncture in my writing where I’m not sure where to go next, I take a walk. While I walk outdoors – not on a treadmill – along a creek, ideas come to me. I can suddenly think of five blog post ideas or ideas for future books. There something about the greenery and trickling water that inspire me. And it will inspire you too. Hike, cycle; just get outdoors.

Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers

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  1. Thanks much for the shout-out for our blog! I’m honored to be in such great company. This one is a must-read too!

  2. Yes to get outdoors! I find Nature inspires creativity too!

  3. Many thanks for the flattering mention and for including us in such A+ company! 🙂

  4. Yep, the outdoors are where all my plot problems get resolved. Sometimes I have to really go hard and for distance, the 10 mile trail run or the 15 mile mountain bike ride, but the solution comes every time. Thank you for sharing all these great links to podcasts and blogs. They are so valuable!

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