7 Habits of Highly Effective Writers

1. First Light. “When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.” – Ernest Hemingway

2. Daily Quota. Stephen King sticks to a daily writing quota of 2000 words, not stopping until the quota is met.

3. 70-hr Work Weeks. “When I’m working on a novel, I work 70-hour weeks.” – Dean Koontz

4. Short Breaks. Dan Brown keeps an hourglass on his desk and takes short breaks from writing every hour to do push-ups, sit-ups and stretches.

5. Consistency. “I write at the same place, same table, same chair, with the same cup and type of coffee. The same computer has produced the last fifteen books. The books are written from August to November, from 6 a.m. to noon, five days a week. Old habits die hard.” – John Grisham

6. Sleep on it. When writing the challenging middle of a book, Janet Evanovich takes a pad and pen to bed and writes down her thoughts before going to sleep. Then in the morning, she knows what to write.

7. Clarity. “I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.” – Isaac Asimov

Get busy writing, or get busy reading.

Sharif Khan
Writer-for-hire, Author
Communications professional
Follow me on twitter: @sharifkhanbooks






6 Responses to 7 Habits of Highly Effective Writers

  1. I really enjoyed this list! I think the truth is, all writers do some of these things sometimes, and it really is a personal preference. But I keep hearing over and over that you have to set a daily quota so I think I am going to start that. But in a way, that contradicts with Grisham who only writes August-November. It definitely is a trial and error process!

  2. Great collection of quotes from some top name people. To me it says to find your own groove, then stick with it. Whether you feel like it or not.

  3. Well said, Carrie. Consistent effort is key. SK

  4. kimberlymcpherson says:

    Great post! Thank you for these wonderful tips!

  5. Sabita Majid says:

    I like the idea of a daily quota because it implies that writers need to be in the practice of writing constantly in order to produce work and to improve and refine previous drafts and complete streams of thoughts and stories. As in all other professions, I think the practice, practice, practice dictum is a critical piece in writing successfully and one that I have to teach myself.

  6. Mridula says:

    Thank you so much for such a nice post 🙂

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