7 Essential Writing Habits for Exceptional Writers: Develop Your Craft & Find Your Voice

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The pen, the paper, and the relentless blinking cursor. All writers know that familiar feeling of a mind brimming with ideas, yet struggling to translate them into compelling sentences. You’re writing but it feels like your writing has lost its edge and you wonder what is off. Have you fallen into some common bad writing habits?

Everybody wants to create something compelling but exceptional writing isn’t about fleeting bursts of inspiration – it’s about cultivating “good writing habits” that build your skills over time. 

7 Writing Habits of Exceptional Writers

Want to move from good to exceptional? There are many writing habits that you will need to embrace. We cover seven crucial ones below;

#1 Write Every Day (Building Fluency & Overcoming Resistance)

Consistency is key to developing your writing muscles. Daily writing need not be polished or profound. Even 15 minutes of freewriting or brainstorming will make a difference. It trains your brain to think creatively on command and breaks down the internal resistance that leads to procrastination.

Action Step: Choose a specific time of day and dedicate it to writing, no matter how brief. Set reminders if you need to and write.

#2 Seek Feedback Actively 

We all have blind spots in our writing which is why constructive feedback from trusted sources will help you improve.  Find beta readers who genuinely want to see you succeed. Join a writing critique group or exchange work with a fellow writer. Be prepared to receive constructive criticism with an open heart – it’s the fastest path to growth.

#3 Read Widely & Analyze (Immersing Yourself in the Art of Writing)

Reading isn’t just entertainment – it’s a masterclass in good writing habits. Immerse yourself in different styles, genres, and voices. Pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and how authors create atmosphere. Read not just for pleasure, but with an analytical eye. As you read, ask yourself:

  • What makes this sentence structure effective?
  • How does the writer create a sense of mood or atmosphere?
  • How do they balance dialogue and description?

Answer these and you better understand what to do with your writing. Now, let those literary lightbulbs fuel your writing. 

Action Step: Start a “writer’s notebook” where you jot down passages you admire, analyzing why they work.

#4 Know When to Show and When to Tell

Another effective habit is knowing when to show and when to tell. The difference between a bland description and an immersive experience is in balancing showing and telling. “Show, don’t tell” is a classic advice for writers in all ages. However, sometimes, a summary is perfectly fine. Know when to paint a vivid picture with sensory details, and when to move the story forward with efficient exposition. 

#5 Use Active Voice 

Using an active voice when writing is another good writing habit to develop. While active voice infuses your writing with energy and clarity, passive voice can make your writing feel lifeless. Where possible, structure sentences with the subject acting. For example, instead of “The painting was admired by the crowd”, try “The crowd marvelled at the painting.” Simple shifts like this create a sense of immediacy and action. 

Action Step: Use a tool like Hemingway Editor: https://hemingwayapp.com/ to highlight passive voice in your writing and practice rephrasing.

#6 Write for One Reader

Trying to please everyone leads to writing that pleases no one. Picture your ideal reader: What do they care about? What’s their reading level? What keeps them turning pages? Write as if you’re speaking directly to that one person, and your message will resonate with many.

#7 Embrace Simple Words

Don’t mistake long, convoluted words for sophisticated writing. Clear, concise language is always more powerful. Replace pretentious jargon or overly technical language that can alienate your audience with everyday words. Favor shorter sentences when possible. Remember, your goal is not to impress readers with your vocabulary but to make them truly understand and connect with your message.

Action Step: Next time you’re about to use a fancy word, look up synonyms in a thesaurus. Can you express the same idea more simply?

The Journey to Exceptional Writing

These writing habits won’t turn you into a master overnight. However, with consistent practice and a willingness to learn, they’ll transform your writing, help you find your unique voice, and connect with readers on a deeper level. Remember, these writing habits are tools. The more you use them, the sharper your skills will become.

So, which habit will you start cultivating today? Share in the comments, and let’s celebrate each other’s progress!

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