Saturday, March 1, 2008

Breaking Seven Writing Habits

Ever end up in a writing rut? You know, where you feel uninspired, unmotivated to write... just blah? I've been thinking about how I get to these places and what I can do to change them.

Here's a few writing habits I feel I need to improve upon, hopefully breaking them for good!

1. Phone phobia. I detest talking on the phone. This is slowing me down immensely because I'd rather go without food, eat something gross, or pull my own tooth than answer the telephone or call someone. And editors.... I freeze up, feel like I sound dumb, and fear what I'll say if they ask something I don't know how to answer. I'm not the only one with this habit. Jennifer, at Catalyst Blogger has shared her phone struggles not once, but twice now. She's going to continue sharing her progress in upcoming posts. I can't wait to see how she overcomes this obstacle!

2. Requiring silence to write.This is definitely something I want to conquer. Noise is everywhere in this world and it normally doesn't go away, right? It's hard, though. I write so much better when silence envelops the night and whisks me off into a creative flow.... I'm not sure how I'm going to improve this one, but I'm definitely going to concentrate and try.

3. Not stepping away enough. I know you can tell when my blog posts are flat and my enthusiasm isn't the same. Those are the times I'm burnt out, fried to a crisp, because I write, write, write, and forget to get fresh air, renew my thoughts with other activities, and just breathe for a while. Like Lori, at Words on the Page, this is on my immediate to-do list.

4. Failure to follow up. I never follow up as often as I should with my queries or potential clients. Why? I don't know. Not enough time. Feeling like they chose someone else... Who knows? I do know my e-mail could have been lost in spam, could have been read, liked, and forgotten about by accident, but if I don't follow up, I'll never know! Take veteran writer, Lori Widmer's advice and just do it folks!

5. Becoming bogged down in blog land. You know what I'm talking about. Visiting one blog, then another, commenting on them, following the conversation through the handy e-mail notification feature, then seeing a cool blog listed in the sidebar or following the link to someone who left a comment you loved. Gosh, before you know it, you've been floating around cyber space for too, too long and your time--and your eyes--are spent. I've already tamed this one tremendously!

6. Replying to e-mails a gazillion times a day. This has to stop. I can't count the number of writers, bloggers, even writing coaches, who have stated they've cut the amount of time they spend checking and replying to e-mails down. There's really no need to be staying on top of e-mail to that extent. It can wait a few hours. Seriously.

7. Not reading enough. With too much writing, e-mailing, reading blogs, and sweating over phone disasters, I fail to read. I've been getting around to reading a little more since I won the Amazon Gift Certificate. I'm still making my way through Query Letters that Rock, but I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple of days. I plan on reading something that isn't about the craft of writing, too. That will be a breath of fresh air I need!

Wow, I thought thinking of seven writing habits I need to break would be a lot harder. A big thanks to Sylvia, at Sylvia's Insight, for inspiring this post!

Now you know the writing habits I need to break. Do you relate to any of them? Have you already worked past all or some of these? Share your writing habits that need to be broken in the comments. We can't wait to hear from you!

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