Want to know how to improve your writing habits?
Do you want to be more productive and efficient in blogging?
It’s barely possible to define inspiration – not to mention its sources. Each writer has a set of one’s own, strictly individual techniques, and it is hardly possible to label them as strictly right or wrong ones.
On the other hand, even the authors themselves agree that some of their writing habits can be counter-productive – to say the least.
Even if you do not plan to make a living writing, communication (written one, in particular) is still a vital part of our lives – even more so today, when the business world is growing closer and closer.
Mastering the basic writing tricks is especially important for entrepreneurs – let’s not forget that your ability to strings words together helps to promote yourself and your company products /services in the long run.
So, let’s analyze the worst writing habits of great authors and see how we can learn from their experience.
Writing Habits of Jane Austen
The author of “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and many other novels, Jane Austin, is one of the most influential female writers in the early English realism scene – which is a great achievement, given the historical setting.
Still, it would be hard to argue that Austin used too many junk-words, like “really, “pretty,” and “very.” While sometimes, each and every of those words can be a decent emphasis, overusing them won’t do the author any good.
Plus, let’s not forget that Mark Twain cautioned novelists not to use the word “very,” as it was always considered lazy writing.
Writing Habits of Truman Capote
Capote’s most famous novels include “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood.” Capote’s bad writing habits were more of a personal nature. For example, the writer wouldn’t start or finish a piece of work on a Friday; he would also switch hotel rooms if the room or a phone number in this room included ’13’.
Truman would also write all of his first drafts with a pencil – specifically. The reasons why these habits are bad are clear as daylight – without these little “quirks” maybe he could have finished his works sooner and could have given us more than just a couple of masterpieces.
Or, at the very least, he could have enjoyed more of his life. The main takeaway here is to remember is that working atmosphere is, without any doubt, important. However, don’t be too obsessed with the setting and focus on the result instead.
Writing Habits of Vladimir Nabokov
The author of “Lolita,” “Pale Fire,” and “Speak, Memory” loved index cards. The majority of his books were written on 3 x 5-inch cards, which would be paper-clipped and kept in thin cases.
He was very particular about his “gadgets”; Nabokov used only Bristol cards and pencils topped with erasers. One could only guess the struggle his editor had when putting together a novel from index cards, not to mention deciphering them as they were all written in pencil.
Capote, at least, always submitted a type-written text. On the actual paper.
It is vital to respect your colleagues and partners. In a modern world, the attitude towards your peers is a universal business currency, contributing to your professional and personal reputation.
Writing Habits of Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Wolfe, the fourth author under scrutiny, is the creator of “Look Homeward, Angel,” “You Can’t Go Home Again,” “The Web and the Rock,” and “Of Time and the River.”
Wolfe used a typewriter to write his works and set a personal quota of ten pages a day. He claimed it didn’t matter how long it took to write those pages; he would stay and write until he met his daily limit.
It is admirable that he was such a committed writer, but when one has writer’s block, staying for hours looking at the typewriter doesn’t help much; a walk or any other activity may help overcome this predicament.
All in all, planning on sticking to a schedule is a very reasonable habit; however, entrepreneurs know for a fact that circumstances change, and it is crucial to adjust to the contemporary realia to stay productive.
Be flexible and don’t let precious minutes slip through your fingers.
Writing Habits of John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck is the author of “Of Mice and Men,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “East of Eden.” He managed to write 27 books and won several prestigious literature awards: a Nobel Prize in Literature and a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Steinbeck, who enjoyed writing his first versions in pencil, always kept precisely twelve impeccably sharpened pencils on his writing table.
He used them so vigorously that his editor had to send him round pencils to lessen the lumps the author had developed on his hands from his usual, square ‘tools.’ Sure, a keyboard seems to be less dangerous in this matter.
Still, no one but you will take care of your health. Remember to take short breaks from the computer screen (to alleviate the harmful impact on your eyes) and don’t neglect physical activity. Keep in mind that regular sports sessions do not only make you fit but also help to ‘reboot,’ cheer you up and boost your mental activity.
Writing Habits of Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is the author of “To the Lighthouse,” “Mrs. Dalloway”, “Orlando: A Biography,” and “A Room of One’s Own.”
In her early twenties, the author used to write every morning for about two and a half hours; she also used a very specific table, with a right-angled top that permitted her to gaze at her work both up-close and from far away.
Woolf would do her all her writing standing up. After realizing that writing in such manner is counterproductive, she changed her pose – from standing to sitting – and she fashioned a device that would help her with the writing process.
Her writing table had to have a platter for pens and ink so Virginia wouldn’t have to get up and interrupt her flow of creativeness should she wear out her instruments.
Seems reasonable and not so bad? Well, it might be; on the other hand, modern psychiatrists would define this habit as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sure, we all have our issues, but try to stay reasonable. Once again, it is the result that matters, not the rituals.
No doubt, distinguished authors are well-known for their writing habits – occasionally shocking, generally compulsive, and always unusual.
All six writers analyzed in these articles have all sorts of quirks from odd muses, voluntary house detention, and other inventive methods that sit at the crossing between superstition and practicality.
Nonetheless, they have all created works of eternal value and should not be judged too harshly. And neither should we, even despite our flaws and issues!
As long as you treat your colleagues with respect, strive for the best result in writing, and love yourself enough to stay cheerful and healthy, your partners will definitely forgive you some of yours!
What writing habits do you have? I would love to hear your experience in the comment below.
Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.