One of the best parts of having written my first book is to share the experience with others. I feel empowered on the new author’s journey. Taking a leap this past year into authoring a collection of short stories, for the first time, it became a mixed mode, some of which I learned along the way. These three work and lifestyle habits will help you as a new author or if you’re thinking about a writing career.
Be diligent in setting the writing task everyday.
Daily writing is a discipline to learn if you’re serious about authoring any kind of literature. Love your work and the subject you’re writing about will not seem like a daily chore. These easy habits and tips will help keep your writing project on track.
Task reminder. Create a task reminder on your calendar everyday to help give your writing a priority. With your writing task, be specific as possible. You can set the task reminder for a particular chapter or phase of your writing, for example, pre-writing tasks like research or an interview.
Time segment. Break the task down into a manageable and doable time segment that is best for you. Established authors will set blocks of writing time, for example, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. If you’re only able to commit to one hour a day or one day a week to your writing, then set the task reminder on your schedule you intend to accomplish within the given time segment to make progress.
Multiple calendars. Utilize separate calendars for different projects. Often my professional writing and consulting responsibilities usher me to work on other projects. To help organize my work, I add a color-code on my calendar to track tasks by project. Productivity apps can help you manage tasks and keep color-coded calendars that you can share with others.
Hire a professional editor to separate yourself from your writing.
As painful as it may seem, an editor will spot those superfluous sentences or awkward phrases only you understand. Remember, an editor does not think like you. If the editor can’t understand it, the reader will certainly have an unpleasant experience. Try these helpful tips.
Objective opinion. You will need to rely on someone else to have an objective opinion of your book, which is why you need a professional editor who is not your best friend or relative. My editor, Mary strengthened what I was writing through lots of questions, like “Is this what you want it to say?”
Ample editing time. I have to admit editing takes more time to complete than the writing. Having undergone at least 15 or more rounds of editing on my first short story collection was mind-boggling. My own rewrites and several rounds with Mary were well worth the time and effort.
Rewriting. The ending of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms had to be rewritten 39 times before he was satisfied! So you see, editing (and rewriting) is an integral process of writing your book.
Exercise, eat right, and get a good night’s sleep.
My sore hands at the end of the day remind me that I had put in a full day of writing (and rewriting). Once rested after a pleasant night’s sleep, I am infused with new energy in the morning. To power up your writing day, think about basic needs for exercise and eating right.
Yoga. Yoga practice is my go-to exercise regime I look forward to everyday. Sitting long hours in front of the computer puts a strain on my lower back. Yoga fixes sore muscles and joints. Twenty minutes a day doing a yoga practice at home or at the gym will avoid the stress and strain we put on our back and neck, too. Anyone can do yoga. I taught my husband several yoga stretches he now incorporates in his daily exercise.
Lighter meals. My daytime meals tend to be lighter and more frequent. Whole grain cereals, fresh fruit, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches keep me energized all through the day. And drink water to stay hydrated and prevent fatigue.
I’m certain there are many more tips that can benefit new authors. You’re welcome to share your top work and lifestyle habits in the comments.