3 effective writing habits that work for me

effective writing habits / a thousand threads
I don’t write nearly as often as I’d like to. Life always seems to get in the way. But I’m always fascinated by the writing habits of others. James Joyce apparently wrote just a few sentences a day, while Ernest Hemingway made it a point to get in 500 words… and Stephen King goes all the way to 10 pages, even on holidays. Truman Capote wrote lying down, and Alexandre Dumas wrote for decades only on one particular shade of blue paper. Some wrote in between errands, some during (Gertrude Stein wrote while her wife drove them around in their Model T Ford.)

Some habits make sense, some not so much.

Here are a few of my own that I’ve found to help…

1 // If you can’t write something good, write nonsense.

Lately I’ve started using 750words.com to get out the bugs on the days I’m feeling less than inspired. The idea is that once you’ve written 750 words of nonsense, your head is all limbered up and the ideas will flow. So far I’ve found it to be really effective!

2 // Read

An hour or so with David Sedaris and my brain is buzzing with ideas. Of course, my storytelling ability doesn’t hold a candle to his… but at least I can try. Practice makes perfect, right?

It’s all about reading the folks that inspire you.

3 // Walk

When all else fails, take a walk. Sitting (I sit – anyone here stand or lie down?) for too long in front of a computer will fry anyone’s brain. Moving around gets things going again, and for me, it usually works to break the block.

What are some of your writing habits? Do you use any tricks to break you out of a slump?

Photo via.


  1. Posted October 24, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The 750 words idea is an interesting one! I often try to write my blog posts in my head when I am running and that often works.

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      ME TOO! Running is one I didn’t include here, but it works so well for me. I always have my best ideas while I’m on a run.

  2. Posted October 24, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’m definitely going to try the 750 words idea! This sounds like a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Reading has always helped me as well.

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      You have to — it’s so great!

  3. Posted October 24, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Whenever I find myself at a loss for words, I just start typing what I’m thinking. Even if it doesn’t work all that well, I can usually kick start a more productive writing period–and go back and pull what’s useful from my early scribbles!

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Yes! That’s always the best… if you start to write, eventually it always seems to turn into something good.

  4. Posted October 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome, Laicie! I’ve been in a writing, designing, blogging, everything slump these days – hence the lack of posting, so I’m definitely going to try the 750words.com! For me, I think I just have way too much going on right now, and as much as I love to keep up with my blogging schedule, I just can’t. I decided it’s okay if I don’t post every single day, quality over quantity, right?! 😉

    And yes #3 walking – that is my go-to anytime I’m feeling blocked. Actually, I was so frustrated earlier today I just stopped everything, went on a 30 min walk, came back and finished 2 designs – CRAZY?! amazing.

    Let me tell you, Laicie – you are such a good writer to me, I always get so inspired when I come to your blog. I love it! xo

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Oh Victoria you made my day, you have no idea! You are so sweet! And I couldn’t agree more — you should always choose quality over quantity, and I think you have that down. 🙂

  5. Posted October 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve really found myself with the desire to write more. I used to write constantly but then I just felt too much pressure to keep it up. Maybe now is the time to start again…

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      It totally is!! I always go through cycles too… writing more vs. writing less. Sometimes you need a break to feel inspired.

  6. Posted October 25, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    hah you are awesome. these are the best tips!!
    loved the first one!!

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks lady!! 😉

  7. Posted October 28, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I was definitely in need of this today! So perfect to remember. And how fun with that 750 words of nonsense! 🙂
    xo TJ


  8. Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Yep, too long in front of computer does tend to fry the brain (also my tush feels molded to the seat, hmmm maybe even a tad bigger too eeeeek!). I totally agree that reading and walking work MAGICALLY! I’ve lost count how may time I have had computer issues (not being able to find a doc, etc etc) and after my walk teh issues magically have simple solutions (that apparently I was too frustrated to see clearly before). Plus, I like stalking squirrels in my walks. A tip that I have been using lately is writing ..without (this is the biggie) proofreading (in other words not overthinking/analyzing/dissecting what I say/write … I have found it to be more ‘me’ authentic (and me likey!).

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