7 habits of highly ineffective writers

IMG_0476This month I joined a writing challenge intended to help me develop good writing habits. All it has pointed out, so far, is just how poor my writing habits are. Some of my habits go beyond ineffective to actually counterproductive. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

In case you’re on the same path, I thought I’d share them with you so you, too, can gain the valuable self-awareness I’ve gained.

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Writers

  1. Write for an hour while standing in the kitchen at your iPad when you only meant to get a drink of water.
  2. Write blocks of prose targeted to a certain number of words. Count words. Notice there are too many or too few. Curse. Edit. Repeat.
  3. Jot down notes on your phone in parking lots across the city. Later, try to figure out what you meant.
  4. Write in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping.
  5. Sleep in the middle of the day when you should be writing.
  6. Get hung up on one particular passage or section. Set the piece aside so long you can no longer remember what it was you were trying to do with it.
  7. Schedule a whole, precious day to write and then paint the bedroom instead.

While I’m capable of disciplined personal habits this is clearly not an area where I excel. I’m slinking away from this particular writing challenge before my self-esteem takes an unrecoverable blow. Plus, I could use a glass of water.

How do you keep yourself on track when you’re writing? 

11 thoughts on “7 habits of highly ineffective writers

  1. Oh my goodness, I understand you! I tried to do a writing challenge (the NaBloPoMo) & failed BIG. http://www.godanskermom.com/2013/11/20/nablopomo-failing-big/ I SO UNDERSTAND. My way of writing? I have a notebook where I jot down ALL these REALLY AWESOME ideas. Then consider my job in life done. They never get translated to a real article or piece on the Internet. Same with my “editorial calendar.” Someday my notebook will be worth gold though!


    1. I recently read something about how people who can envision themselves doing something (say, publishing a novel) are less motivated to actually do it because it feels like they’ve already accomplished something. That pretty much nailed my problems right there.


  2. I was doing great until I got to #3. Darn. If I don’t write down detailed notes, I forget what the heck I was trying to say, too. It’s a problem! There is a room in my house that I go into to write. It’s very cozy and warm. I go in and close the door. My family knows not to bother me, but sometimes they just can’t help themselves. Typical.


    1. That sounds great. I am lacking space, time and structure – my best thoughts come to me at the most inconvenient times. I have taken to dictating when I can because I end up with better notes that way. Thanks for reading!


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