Five Habits of Successful Authors

While every writer has a different way of approaching their craft, there are some habits that many, if not most, successful authors engage in that contribute to their success. By incorporating these habits into your daily practices, you can increase your chance of success and personal growth in the writing industry.

Many prolific, bestselling authors have several habits in common when it comes to pursuing their writing careers. These habits help authors increase their chances of success and personal growth in the writing industry.

Create a Consistent Writing Schedule

While no one's writing schedule is going to be identical, many successful authors follow a specific time or routine for writing which helps them stay productive and maintain momentum. Writers like Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, just to name a few, have established routines or schedules to maintain discipline and productivity.

While it may feel more organic to only "write when the muse strikes," the truth is for most writers, she strikes far too infrequently to maintain a prolific career. It is far better to train your muse to come to work on a schedule.

Setting Clear Goals

Establishing well-defined writing goals, such as word count or number of chapters completed, helps authors track progress and make adjustments as needed.

For a good, if perhaps extreme, example of such goal-setting, you can look at Brandon Sanderson as a successful author who successfully manages writing several different book series on a schedule that takes him years into the future. While most authors won't need a spreadsheet spanning quite so many books and years, it's a good idea to set specific milestones for the completion of first drafts, first edits, etc. If you feel the need to get more granular to motivate yourself, then definitely do so.

Reading Widely

I don't know that a successful author can exist who doesn't read widely. Reading different genres and styles of writing enriches an author's own perspective, provides inspiration, and improves their craft. When I am looking for new books to read, I often look at the social media feeds of my favorite authors to see which books they've been recommending. I am rarely disappointed.

Seek Out and be Receptive to Feedback

While it's easy to fall into isolation when you're writing, it is very helpful to seek out critique groups or writing partners to get feedback both on your work in progress as well as completed drafts. Established authors have their own support teams and professional editors, while those new to writing will have to develop their own team. A local or online writing group, or even a literate spouse, can help you iron the kinks out of your stories.

In order for this feedback to be of any use, however, you need to be receptive to criticism. Be willing to cut, dice and rewrite sections of your writing that receive criticism from your readers rather than becoming defensive and disregarding their comments.

Learn Continuously

Successful authors regularly invest time in learning new writing techniques, expanding their vocabulary, and staying updated on industry trends to continuallyimprove and grow in their craft.

This is not to say you should enrol in every writers workshop and read every book in your local library about writing. Blend your learning opportunities into your writing schedule. If you're working on dialog, read some advice on improving dialog and see where you can apply that advice. Do the same with action, descriptive text, etc. and you will gain from both the advice and the practice honing your prose.

In summary, the five habits of successful authors include:

- Following a consistent writing schedule
- Setting clear goals and tracking progress
- Reading widely and exploring various genres
- Being receptive to feedback from professional and personal sources
- Engaging in continuous learning to develop their craft further

By incorporating these habits into their daily practices, authors increase their chances of success and personal growth in the writing industry.

Wendy Woudstra

Wendy Woudstra is the driving force behind, an ad-supported informational website featuring a comprehensive database of book publishing companies, literary festivals, and literary awards.

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