7 Good Writing Habits for Aspiring Writers Who Feel Overwhelmed

Published 08 Apr 2024
by Anca Antoci

At the beginning of my writing career, I kept stumbling upon the advice that I should write every day to become successful. That is daunting for most people, especially if they also have a day job and a family. While it’s accurate that we all have 24 hours a day, some of us have more on our plate than just writing. And since earning a living as an author is a long game, we often need to prioritize other things over writing. Besides, sometimes it isn’t even a matter of time, but of not having enough mental energy to do something creative.

If I wore to make a list of the best writing habits that I found helpful so far, here would be my picks.

Before I start, I need to say that this is what worked for me. Despite what most writing coaches tell you, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creative writing. So take every piece of advice and see how you can customize it and make it work for you.

1. Be consistent.

If I learned anything in life so far is that consistency is the key to success no matter what you do. That being said, I’m not going to say ‘Write every day’. If you can write every day, by all means do it. But if writing one or two days a week seems more manageable for you, then go with that. For instance, I only write four days a week. When you set goals, they need to be achievable to stand a chance, otherwise you set yourself up for failure and frustration and they never lead to success.

2. Schedule your writing.

So you set a goal to write once, twice, or three times a week. Now what? If you wait for inspiration to hit and then start writing, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve much. So you need to plan. By that I mean you need to check your calendar and actually block time for writing.

3. Value discipline over motivation.

Once you have a clear schedule, keep it. Write in the allotted time and over time, you will build up discipline. Don’t wait for motivation. When you have a routine in place, you’re more likely to sit down and write, even when inspiration is lacking. This discipline helps you push through difficult moments and ensures that you make progress on your projects.

4. Set a goal that is achievable.

For me, that goal is 2,000 words per day. Some days I surpass it, and that’s how I know it is achievable. And some days I fall short. But in the grand scheme of life, the pluses and the minuses even out. I find that having a clear goal motivates me to achieve it. It doesn’t work for everyone, so if you feel overwhelmed by it, set a smaller goal like 500 words, or at least one paragraph. I know it may not seem like much, but if you are consistent, you’ll still make progress at your own pace. This isn’t a race.

5. Make progress.

Some days, the words will flow, and some days you’ll have to coerce them. Like I said earlier, some days I fail to achieve my 2,000 words goal. When that happens, I remind myself that small progress is still progress. Like the Chinese proverb goes, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

6. Read analytically.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t read for pleasure, but when you read a book and come across something that grips you, take notes. I do that all the time. Analyze and dissect the techniques and styles employed by different writers and see how you can adapt them to improve your own writing. Pay attention to character development, plot structure, dialogue, and descriptive language in the books you read. Take notes and read them when you struggle with your writing.

7. Find your tribe

Surround yourself with a community of fellow writers, whether through local writing groups, online forums, or social media platforms, to share experiences, seek support, and exchange feedback. For instance, I’m quite active in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter and a multitude of Facebook groups. Find what works for you, where you can connect and learn from like-minded people. It helps to learn from their struggles, share your success, ask for advice and become part of a community.


Developing effective writing habits is a personal and evolving process. Embrace consistency, plan accordingly, work on your discipline, and set achievable goals for your writing projects. Don’t just copy these habits, make them work for your own life. Engaging with the writing community and studying the works of others can help you develop as a writer. At the end of the day, every writer has their own process. I hope you found something useful in my list of tips and made it work for you. Stay committed, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the journey toward becoming a skilled and accomplished author.