Five Habits that Set Great Writers apart from the Rest

Great writers read a lot. They know what they take in will influence their writing.

“If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.” Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Great writers study writing by reading. They read books with strong characters to learn how to write strong characters. They read books of poetry to write poetically. They read books on grammar and punctuation so they get better at honing these skills.

“Art stands on the shoulders of craft, which means that to get to the art, you must master the craft.” The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life by Ann Patchett

Great writers don’t wait for inspiration. They sit down and write no matter what.

“[Writing is] something you choose to do on a regular basis with no vision of an outcome; the aim is not improvement, not getting somewhere. You do it because you do it. You show up whether you want to or not.” The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

Great writers don’t stop when rejected. They keep writing. They get better. They try again.

“But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Great writers are still scared to publish.

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” –War of Art by Steven Pressfield

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