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What are some of your good writing habits?

Because I discussed my bad writing habits a couple weeks ago, I thought it only fitting I also discuss some of my good writing habits as well.

1) Divide Stories Between Notebooks

Organizational-wise, coding each story by notebook allows an easy method of finding the information I need for any specific world or novel or even short story. This cuts down on how much time I need to search for what I need. Allows me to only have to carry around one notebook at a given time. Gives me a method to the madness that is all the stories I want to write or am in the middle of writing.

The only negative aspect of this method is that sometimes I might not have the appropriate notebook at hand and I desperately need to write something down so I won’t forget it. This means that bits of information would end up where they didn’t belong. But I counter this quite well with assigning a couple of specific notebooks to being “catch-all” notebooks, wherein I can cross out information once it’s been used or relayed to its proper place.

2) Work on Something Every Day

This is one that a lot of writers resist against and I’m never sure why. You can be a writer whether you write one day of the year or all 365. Doesn’t much matter. However, you’re not going to get much done if you only write one day a year, which is why I like the method of crafting a habit out of writing.

By crafting a habit, where my brain insists on needing to open certain documents, create new words or edit old ones every single day, I’ve made it almost impossible for me not to accomplish things. Stopping is far worse than slowing down. I must keep the wheels rolling if I want to remember what I was doing and why I was doing it that way. Otherwise, things start to disappear.

Thus, I get my butt in the chair in front of my computer every day. And if I can’t, then I wander with a notebook jotting down notes. And if can’t do that, I have a nifty writing app on my phone and a bunch of stories there as well. Doesn’t matter what is going on in my life, I always have a project at hand. And if I don’t, then I make one that fits that dead space.

3) Cycling

Not the bike cycling, the writing cycling. Every time I sit down to work on a project, I never start where I ended. I go back to the top. Maybe not the very top, as in a novel that would be impossible, but I’ll go back to the top of the chapter, top of the scene, top of whatever good breaking point there is from my last writing session.

Then I read from there, altering, editing, tweaking as I read, and then, by the time I get to where the words end, I’m immersed in the story enough that the new words begin to flow. This method of going over your work each time is called cycling, because you’re passing back over it again and again.

Some people don’t prefer this method because they see it as editing, which takes a different part of your brain. But to me, this is just me seeking flow, altering the course of the words so that flow isn’t disrupted.

This generally also means that by the time I’m done with a story, particularly a longer one, that I have a decently clean draft with which to work. And that’s something I love since when a story is done, I desperately want to move on to something else that requires creativity vs a critical eye.