Although neither sacrosanct nor replete the list below reveals some of the winning habits of writers and creatives across the world.
1. Enjoy and celebrate your creative journey—the mistakes too. Goethe once said: “By seeking and blundering we learn.” Sound advice indeed.
2. Read voraciously. Stephen King reminds us that if we don’t have time to read, we don’t have time to write. Watch plenty of good movies too. If novels and short stories teach us about the inner journey, as well as character complexity and depth, movies teach us about pace, the outer journey and economy.
3. Join a writer’s group for networking, information, feedback and moral support.
4. Know your industry. Read dedicated magazines, subscribe to relevant blogs and websites. Try to learn something new about your craft each day.
5. Dispel negativity from your writing life, despite the growing number of rejection slips. Dean Koontz garnered 75 such slips before his first sale. Each book or screenplay represents enormous effort, dedication and faith. Negativity eats away at your resolve, self-belief and energy. It has no place in your process.
6. Write regularly—every day if you can. Not each session has to produce inspired or superlative work. The point here is to support the writing habit and it will support you.
7. Don’t second-guess, or edit your work while writing. Let the material pour out of you. Correcting and polishing are for the editing stage.
8. Be persistent and committed. The great concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said: “Never give up, never give up, never give up.” You shouldn’t either.
9. Believe in yourself and in your abilities. If you don’t, why should anyone else?
10. Learn to take criticism. Feedback, fair or foul, is requisite and inevitable. Paz Octavio, the Mexican poet and writer said: “What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.”
Becoming a successful writer often involves traveling down a long and difficult road—it is not for the faint-hearted. Fostering healthy habits that develop and sustain stamina ought to make your goals easier to achieve.