7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Writers

Writers are weird.

Now before you go and get offended, please understand that I think weird is perfectly acceptable. Wonderful. Necessary, even. I mean, you don’t create entire worlds, landscapes, and people without some weirdness.

And writers have some pretty weird habits. Obsessively drinking coffee. Constantly jumping back and forth between: “this is brilliant!”and “this is the most disgusting swill ever to land on paper.” Holding lengthy conversations in your head with real or imaginary people. Being so lost in thought you don’t realize someone it talking to you. (Points to self.) We are an interesting lot.

But some habits are just… not helpful to the writer. In fact, they’re highly ineffective.

Obsessively Checking Email

Waiting for a response (or several) from publishers or agents? Surely the more you check, the greater the chance you’ll get that response. Every single ping could be the acceptance you’re waiting for! Why bother focusing on your next project or piece? Just keep checking that email!

Refreshing Your Submittable Page

Much like that email, be sure to constantly refresh that Submittable page. Especially those “in progress” submissions—watch those like a hawk. They say a watched pot never boils, but I’m sure that doesn’t apply to submissions, right?

Buying Notebooks

When in doubt, get a new notebook. Either something pretty, or something super pretentious like a leather bound journal. Carry it around with you everywhere and remember to scribble in only half the pages. Then get a new notebook.

Writing Brilliant Prose in Your Head

You’re a genius. The amount of times you have written beautiful prose in your head is countless. (Most likely while trying to fall asleep.) Getting it down on paper? Nah. What writer worth their salt would actually WRITE the beautiful prose down?

Getting a Great Idea

Gotta love those great ideas! They come and go like the breeze. You can turn a corner and—BAM!—you have the next great American novel. Be sure to write that in your head (see previous habit), just not on paper.

Planning which Publishers Will Fight Over Your “Great Idea”

You’ve got the idea, you’ve written scores of eloquent passages in you head. Now, be sure to research and find publishers who will want your book. Fantasize the bidding war that will surely happen and result in an insane advance for this work. For good measure, plan how your going to spend that advance. Just whatever you do, don’t write the actual book.

Embrace all your weird habits. But maybe, if you want to be a successful writer, skip all the ineffective ones. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my email…


5 Steps to Get Your First Writing Credit
11 Places to Publish Your Short Fiction for Children
5 Steps you Need to Take When You’re Serious about Writing
How to Deal with Rejection as a Writer


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