7 Things That Make Us Worse Writers

Woman writing painting loose brushstrokes by Giovanni Boldini

Some habits are worse for writers than others. Here’s what I mean…

1. Sitting at a desk for too long

Yes, we have to get the words down, but we can do a lot of writing while we’re away from our desks. As Leonard Cohen used to say, “If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

We can write when we are waking, washing the dishes, and doing other things, even if we don’t think about writing when we do them. Because writing is other things, other people. Everything in life feeds and informs it.

2. Reading only fiction

We can learn so much from reading non-fiction. We can broaden the horizons of our thinking.

If we read only fiction, and especially the same genres, the same tropes and plots become clichés, and some may become habits for us.

3. Writing only on our computer

There’s a pleasure in handwriting that writers who stick only to their computers are missing. Plus, writing by hand increases neural activity in some areas of the brain and can make us more creative.

4. Having fixed notions about style

Neil Gaiman is often quoted to say that style is what you can’t help doing. It’s not like you have to think too much about it. You style will come out anyway, thinking about it too much is a waste of time.

5. Writing with the internet on

Sometimes it may be unavoidable, but if you turn the Wi-Fi off you can boost your concentration on while minimizing distractions. Try it and you’ll see. It will take you to a quieter, deeper place.

6. Multitasking while writing

With so many things to do and so many devices around, multitasking may seem like a way to speed up tasks. But multitasking dumbs us. It prevents us from entering the state of flow which is so conducive to creativity.

7. Doing too much research

Some research informs most writing projects. But investing too much time into research can kill writing.

Researching can be a way to mask our procrastination, a way to put off the actual writing under the pretense that we’re preparing for it.

Maybe you should write first and then research?

That’s all for now.

Stay well and writing!


Painting: Writing – Giovanni Boldini Print

2 thoughts on “7 Things That Make Us Worse Writers

  1. These are great tips. One I like the most is living other aspects of life as well as writing. You’re absolutely on the money there. Real life living tends to inform writing in a way that silence and quiet never can.

  2. This post has compelled me to put down my laptop and grab pen & paper. Unplug and unwind. Thank you for the gentle reminder to do so. Happy writing, my friend.

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