I am often asked what habits make a good writer.
I’ve been researching the creative process for many years and have gathered some evidence of a few consistent things writers say get them from start to end.
One of them is to make writing a daily habit.
Writer Haruki Murakami, the most widely-read Japanese novelist of his generation, sums it up beautifully when he says of his two daily habits of writing and running: “I mesmerize myself (through repetition) to reach a deeper state of mind.” And that is part of what a habit is: repetition keeping the mind in a state hypnosis almost, leading to extra space being created in the neurons in which inspiration can sprout.
Here are Murakami’s recorded daily habits when he is writing a novel. He keeps this up for about six months to a year:
1. Goes to bed at 9pm every night.
2. Gets up at 4am.
3. Writes for about six hours.
4. Runs or swims or does both.
5. Reads, listens to music etc for the rest of the day. Many of us with day jobs may not be able to get this right but a small habit of writing for ten minutes upon waking and/or before bed is a good way to start training the brain.
Of course if you have a novel to write between work hours that ten minutes can become an hour or more either side of the day.