I believe that how a writer writes his life off-page is as important as how he writes it on-page. Acquiring certain habits can help with the off-page writing, with the improvement of the character…
- Asking questions. For writers, the things that don’t happen in life can be just as important as those that happen, because they can see with their imagination what people miss to see with their eyes. Questions like Why? and How? can reveal interesting stories behind banal events.
- Accepting contrasting ideas. A great writer is at the same time both a liberal and a conservative, a theologian and a philosopher, an artist and a scientist. When not writing he is like any other person, and he is partial and takes sides. But when he picks up the pen, he must become like God, everything and nothing at the same time. That’s at least what I strive to do. Otherwise all my protagonists will be pure white and all my antagonists will be pitch black, which is not at all like most people are – gray.
- Writing at least as much as you read. Reading is more passive than writing, so it’s easier. I procrastinate sometimes by reading instead of writing, but I try to make amends by writing in the first half of the day, and then reading only after the writing is done.
- Not trying to do everything by yourself. A fellow who writes 3 hours and then spends 4 hours or more daily marketing his book or designing covers for it is more of a marketer or a graphic artist than he is a writer. It’s tempting to do everything by yourself because all the tools you need seem to be free (social media, book creation and formatting software, and so on). But all these cost time. Not to mention that when you become practical you lose your marvellous sense of unreality, which is the characteristic trait of the artist…
- Not envying other writers’ success. When a writer in your genre becomes successful you have only to gain. Readers are not like sports fans – they don’t have to take sides to enjoy the game. On the contrary, the more readers read, the more they want to read, so the success of a fellow writer who popularizes your genre actually increases the chances of your book being read.
- Not being rich. As an artist, having money can be a big distraction. You are tempted to buy things, go places, do things, and as fun as these might be, they encourage you to grow firm roots in the real world. I think that if you choose to be a writer you must distance yourself a little from worldly things while you are creating your story.
- Finding muses. A subtle attraction, a crush, or simply an innocent friendship with a person of the opposite sex tickles the imagination, encouraging it to indulge in revelries of what might have been if… These revelries can evolve into interesting narratives.
- Writing with your eyes closed. Good for resting the tired eyes and inducing a dream-like state that could help with writing vivid scenes. A sensible writer should avoid having to wear eyeglasses if he can.
- Dressing well. Writers are persons apart, and this must show in their dress. The sportswear your preferred in your youth must be ditched for more elegant clothing. Shoes say everything about a person, so these are particularly important and must be clean. Socks with sandals must be left to mathematicians. Writers have style.
What other habits should a writer have?