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.