Defeat Career Killing Bad Writing Habits

defeat bad writing habitsThere are several bad habits that may be sabotaging your writing career.  Fortunately, as with all bad habits, acknowledgement and being proactive can help you overcome them.

Do you have any of the following self-sabotaging behaviors or beliefs when it comes to your writing?


It comes in many forms: avoidance, distraction, and the worst of all – waiting for inspiration.  If you always find yourself waiting to be inspired; you’ll never do enough writing to reach your fullest potential.

Your muse is like a muscle; it grows with proper feeding and regular exercise. 

How to Defeat Procrastination

Even if it goes against your free-spirited nature; develop a schedule.  Create a set time of day that you write, or if you need more flexibility, write in specific time allotments.  There is a great

I use a great free desktop timer. It’s non-intrusive and sits in the bottom corner of the screen.  Set it for 15 or 30-minute intervals.  During that time, you should only write – no editing, researching, or other distractions.

This is both diet and exercise for your muse.  When you do this, you become a faster, better writer.


Do you find yourself constantly distracted, stopping to check email and social media multiple times per day? When you are trying to get words down, are you suddenly compelled to go do laundry or some other task?  Distraction is probably one of the biggest hurdles to writing for most freelancers.

When you are trying to get words down, are you suddenly compelled to go do laundry or some other task?  Distraction is probably one of the biggest hurdles to efficient writing for most freelancers.

Defeat Distractions

Kill the habit of checking social media constantly.  If you use Firefox; consider the free addon I use called “leechblock”.  It’s very effective and versatile. You can set what sites it blocks and when. You can make it easy to override or set it for the “nuclear option” that you can’t undo – so tread lightly :).

This little add-on is a major life changer.  If you don’t have a quiet office setting; invest in a set of noise cancelling headphones.  I like my dual-purpose headphones that can be set to cancel noise or not.

You Edit While Writing 

If your inner critic becomes a drill sergeant every time you sit down to write, is it any wonder why you struggle with speed and quality?

This is a bad habit pushed in traditional writing classes and it’s one of the hardest to break.  When you liberate yourself from this mindset; you’ll see your writing improves beyond your wildest imagination.

How to Defeat the Overzealous Editor

Give your inner grammar Nazi a set time and place.  Free write often. Once your ideas are all spilled out on the page, then allow your inner editor to go in, clean it up and organize.  This is how you get both halves of your brain to cooperate, instead of do battle against each other.

I cover this in greater depth (for free) here: Simple Exercises Guaranteed to Improve the Quality and Speed of Your Writing.

Paralyzing Perfectionism

Writer’s are usually their own worse critics.  Do you find you compare yourself to others constantly? Do you feel like your writing will never measure up, so you use that as an excuse to not put in the effort?

If so, you aren’t alone.  Creatives tend to have this issue a lot.  Sadly, this defeatist mindset leads to a lot of undiscovered talent.

Beating Perfectionism

There are some things you can’t ever fully rid yourself of.  Knowing and understanding this is the key to beating self-sabotage in all areas of your life.

When people wait until they aren’t afraid of failure (which is what perfectionism is at its core); they never move forward.  Why? Because fear is a part of life.  It cannot be beaten into submission; it is conquered by developing positive new habits and working around it.

Self-Sabotage is a very real struggle for so many and it comes in many forms.  You can learn more about how to defeat all the habits, beliefs, and behaviors that are holding you back here:

Both are hubs I’ve written on the psychology of self-sabotage and learning how to overcome it and live life on your own terms.  Enjoy!

Like this blog?  My aim is to help other writers thrive.  If you have any questions or suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover, please feel free to comment or contact me.


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