Writers are creatures of habit, as are humans, but writers aren’t necessarily human, are they? Regardless, it’s important to always have some awareness as to what your habits are, which ones are good for your writing and which are bad. Thus, I have for you my list of bad habits, which I hope will encourage you to write your own and, hopefully, we can work through them together. Now, onward to the list.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I bleed adverbs. When I type my fingers down to stumps, my stumps will still be bleeding adverbs. I’m not sure where this habit came from, but I can tell you now, I have it bad. The only way I can think to fix it is to be more aware of what I’m writing and edit, edit, edit. Isn’t that pretty much what all writers do? Edit, edit, edit.
- OMNISCIENT CHARACTERS
This is more of a personal flaw than anything else, but it too often sneaks in to my writing, so it makes the list. I like to know everything. I’m snoopy, I ask a lot of questions, and I try to keep in “the loop,” as much as possible. Well, that mindset tends to carry over into my characters. They know way too much and figure everything out way too easy. I usually write the beginning chapter(s) up until every character is introduced, then I go back and do a full upheaval of all of the characters. It would probably save me time just to fix them as I write, but I tend to get into a writing frenzy and forget to be aware of what my characters are becoming. Another bad habit. That one may deserve a bullet point a little further down.
- EDITING BEFORE THE FIRST DRAFT
I think this is the most common problem among all writers. You get in the middle of a draft, and you have this strange itch. You’re typing away, but your hand freezes before hitting that period. You look at your word count. Wow. 10,000 words. That’s a lot. You scroll up and check out that first chapter and start skimming. You edit things, change things, maybe wonder why wrote certain things. It can change your mood, your story, your self-esteem, all before the first draft is even done. That’s my problem. I’ve gotten better with time and getting Scrivener, which has a typewriter view.
- STARTING PROJECTS IN THE MIDDLE OF ANOTHER PROJECT
There’s nothing wrong with having multiple projects until you start abandoning them for more, then abandon those for more, then abandoning those for more, etc. This is another problem of mine. Creativity is the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving, and giving. Thankfully, this is where my love lists comes into play. I take notes. If I have a whole plot building in my head, I write full outlines. I may not follow them fully later on, but I at least have all of my ideas and concepts written down. Note-taking is key all throughout life. School, work, and writing.
These are just a few of the many, many, MANY bad habits I have as a writer. I’m sure I could write an entire book based around my mistakes and bad habits, but I’ll stop here, as these are some the main and most hard to deal with ones. Now, I dare you to make a list, you don’t have to post it, but I’d love it if you would. Maybe we can work through some of them or at least talk it out and share in our writerly-misfortunes.
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Thanks for reading.