13 Habits of Ridiculously Prolific Writers


by Meg Dowell


Sometimes, writing less leads to deeper, more creative thinking.

Have you ever wondered how some writers manage to write thousands of words every day — while you can barely squeeze out 500 words after an hour of trying (and failing) to focus? How do so many successful writers publish so much — even though one success could carry their careers for years?

These are the habits of writers who cannot stop, who refuse to stop, who somehow  do this writing thing and don’t suffer creative burnout in the process.

1. Committing to a mission, an objective, a goal, and a schedule.

2. Trusting your gut. (If you feel it needs to be written, write it.)

3. Writing when you don’t feel like it.

4. Striving to improve, despite recent success.

5. Refusing to quit, despite recent failure.

6. Making time for writing … and reading, and socializing, and doing other creative things.

7. Sharing and discussing ideas with others.

8. Making an extra effort to study a variety of subjects.

9. Diversifying skill sets. (Writers do more than write.)

10. Honestly, probably depending on some form of energy source, natural or synthetic (e.g., caffeine, doughnut holes, those 100-calorie packs of almonds), especially on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

11. Giving every idea a chance, even if some don’t work out.

12. Learning to balance quality with quantity. (Less is, often, more.)

13. Creating because it’s what you want to do — and letting your passion fuel your effort.




Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

42 thoughts on “13 Habits of Ridiculously Prolific Writers

  1. Great list! Nice collection of helpful reminders, when us word nerds get ourselves down about not managing to publish like a machine, with full-time life to contend with 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My biggest hurdle (besides my poor health) is the desire to write everything perfectly the first time around. I know there’s no such thing as perfect, nor has a perfect book or person ever existed, but it’s embedded into me. When I’m relaxed (super rare) the words flow from my fingertips.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh man, so true!! The first draft always feels like it should be THE draft, and never measures up as a result. Hang in there Spoonie, I feel your pain! 😛


  3. Knowing that writing is a physical habit like going to the gym, for Lent I made time to write at least 500 words each day. I completed nine short stories at over 36,000 words.

    Better: just like going to the gym, this is now a habit. I’m almost physically ill if I don’t write. Since Easter I’m on part seven, and 6000+ words, of another short (see link to my site).

    Make the time! Form the habit!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Have you read his stuff? A few short stories are good, but, like JK Rowling, his ghost writers pander to Boomer psychosis while her’s to Millenial’s.

      YOU train YOU to become a great writer. And that definition varies from your child thanking you for your hand-drawn treasure map to your red-carpet entrance to the blockbuster based on your work.

      Treasure the small victories.


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