Seven Habits of a Successful Writer

14th September 2017

Seven Habits of a Successful Writer

Seven Habits of a Successful Writer​

This week we thought we’d post something a little different than our regular updates about award winners and competitions (although if you are looking for that information then the Award Winning Australian Writing Facebook page is an invaluable resources). Here we have ten very useful habits you should be aiming to develop if you want to be a successful writer.​

1.  Always have your tools on hand.

When someone asks, ‘do you have a pen?’ Your answer should always be, ‘of course, I’m a writer.’ It’s difficult to write without the right tools and you never know when inspiration will strike, make sure you always have a pen and notebook — or tablet or phone notes if you’re that way inclined — to hand, to get down all those juicy ideas.


2.  Read, read and read some more.

Reading a lot is a big part of making words your life, reading widely and often will help you to develop your own unique style. You’ll unconsciously become more familiar with different writing conventions, tone style and narrative structure and be able to apply these to your own writing.


3. Write, write and write some more.

Write when you wake up, write before you go to sleep, in your lunch break, on the train. Write when you don’t want to write. Write until you cannot write anymore and then write some more. Take every opportunity you can to write. There is a lot to be said for learning the mechanical process of putting words on a page.


4. Map your stories.

Narrative structure and plot is where a lot of writing falls down. You can write the most beautiful prose in the world, but if there’s no plot, no one will want to read it. Drawing a visual representation of your story arc and writing down a detailed plot plan are great ways to build this skill.


5. Find your space.

Everyone has, or should have, a special space where they feel calm, inspired and where they do their best work. Find this space for yourself, it might mean rearranging your study or setting up a nook near a window, or you might find a local café that just feels right.


6. Set some goals.

This might mean a daily word goal, or a word limit you want to reach within a set period of time. It might simply mean writing every day. Whatever your goals, make sure they are achievable and that you reward yourself when you reach them. Perhaps with a new book, journal or fancy pen?


7.  Put your writing on the line.

If words form on a page but nobody reads them, did they ever exist? Find out, by showing people your work or better yet, enter a competition. There are few pleasures in this world that can compare to winning your first writing competition. If you’re not sure where to start, then check out our monthly update of writing competitions open here or enter this new competition:​

The Stringybark Malicious Mysteries Short Story Award

This new short story competition asks writers for tales of mystery and imagination. ‘Any tale with a mysterious element and perhaps a sting-in-the-tail is wanted.’ Entries must be short stories of up to 1500 words that address the theme of ‘mysterious.’ Entry is open to anyone of any age or nationality and up to 3 stories can be submitted.

Entry: $12 for one story, $22 for two stories or $30 for three stories.

Prizes: There is a prize for first, second and third place, totally around $1000 in cash and books as well as the opportunity for publication.

Closing: 5 November 2017


(Image credit: By Dvortygirl - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,