Writers are creative spirits with stories to tell and wisdom to share. But making writing a career involves more than passion and talent. It requires cultivating habits and mindsets that set you up for long-term success. Whether you’re an aspiring or established writerpreneur, developing the following 12 habits can help you optimize your business operations, boost productivity, and turn you into a successful writer.

1. Track Your Progress

Have confidence in your abilities by regularly tracking your progress. Look back at how far you’ve come rather than focusing on what you haven’t achieved yet. Milestones—no matter how small—are worth celebrating. Tracking progress provides motivation to keep moving forward.

Remember, no successful writer arrived at their destination overnight.

Persistence, patience, and believing in your skills will keep you motivated on the path to success.

2. Play to Your Strengths

We all have natural strengths and weaknesses. Rather than exhaust yourself trying to improve in areas that don’t come naturally, focus on your innate talents.

  • What skills and interests energize you?
  • How can you incorporate those into your writing and business?
  • What are things you should focus on and things you should leave behind?

Spend time reflecting on your abilities, values, and passions. Then orient your writing and career decisions around your strengths. This allows you to produce your best work in a sustainable way.

3. Set Long-Term Goals

Successful writers need a clear vision of where they want to go. Setting specific long-term goals aligned with your strengths provides focus and motivation. Goals related to income, publications, speaking engagements, or other milestones give you something to strive towards. Break bigger goals into smaller, manageable steps.

Review and adjust your goals regularly. We spent several weeks at the beginning of 2023 working through goal setting and how to revisit them annually. If you haven’t set tangible and achievable goals, and don’t revisit them annually, you should.

Make sure they still align with your values and represent your definition of success. Having clarity on your long-term vision fuels consistent action.

4. Make Decisions Quickly

Operating a writing business requires continuous decision making. Weigh options thoroughly, but avoid analysis paralysis. Gain confidence in trusting your instincts—with practice your judgment will sharpen. Make swift choices and move forward boldly.

5. Optimize Your Workspace

Your physical environment impacts your mindset. Make sure your office or writing space is tidy, comfortable, and designed for focus. Eliminate clutter and distractions. Include elements like pictures, quotes, or objects that spark inspiration.

Organize files and tools so everything you need is easily accessible. Experiment to find your optimal settings like lighting, furniture, temperature, and sound. A deliberately optimized workspace tells your brain it’s time to get down to business.

6. Set Big, Realistic Goals

Big dreams require ambitious goals. Set specific, measurable goals related to income, publications, or other milestones. Make sure they are also realistic—you should be stretched to achieve them. Break them into bite-sized tasks. Big, realistic goals give you something inspiring to strive towards.

7. Seek Out Coaches and Mentors

Writing can feel like a solo endeavor at times. But surrounding yourself with a supportive community expands your skills and connections. Make it a habit to regularly invest in courses, masterminds, conferences, and one-on-one mentoring.

Seasoned writers share hard-won lessons and provide accountability. Joining a writing organization connects you with peers for exchanging ideas. Following influencers on social media inspires new perspectives.

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8. Take Calculated Risks

Stepping outside your comfort zone through calculated risks is critical for growth. Playing it safe leads to stagnation. But reckless moves can tank progress you’ve made. The key is assessing options thoroughly and taking small, smart risks.

For example, expanding your niche involves some unknowns. Start by testing new offerings with a handful of current clients first. Try publishing on a new platform or submitting to a long-shot publication. Enter only one writing contest before committing to five.

Evaluate results and make adjustments before scaling up. Taking incremental, low-stakes risks builds skills and courage to continue expanding. Be bold, but stay aligned to your goals.

9. Invest Wisely In Yourself

Too often writers view expenditures like courses, software, or promotion as just costs rather than investments. But strategically investing money, time, and effort into your business and abilities compounds to boost success.

Regularly re-evaluate how and where you are spending. Do your investments match current goals and opportunities? For example, spending on productivity tools makes sense when establishing your business. But later, investing in high-level mentoring may be more impactful.

Be willing to shift gears as priorities change over time. View investments as actively building your future rather than passive expenses. Allocate funds to target your next level of growth.

10. Block Distractions

Our modern world is filled with distractions threatening our precious focus. Emails, social media, notifications on your devices—they can quickly derail your progress if you let them. Successful writerpreneurs guard their time and attention fiercely.

Set your devices to “do not disturb” when it’s writing time. Log out of apps and websites that tend to suck you in. Schedule check-ins for low-focus items like social media at pre-determined times. Don’t multi-task—fully immerse yourself in one activity at a time.

Actively blocking distractions prevents your deep work and creativity from being disrupted. Protect your mind like the precious resource it is.

11. Make Decisions Confidently

Operating a writing business involves continuous decision making. From marketing tactics to partnership opportunities, you’ll be faced with choices daily. Successful writerpreneurs have confidence in trusting their instincts. They examine options thoroughly then make swift decisions.

Do your research, but don’t become paralyzed by over-analysis. Weigh pros and cons then make the best choice based on your knowledge and intuition. Stick by your decisions without second-guessing or doubt. Trust yourself—with practice your judgment will become even sharper.

12. Value Your Time Above All Else

Since you cannot recapture time, treat it as your most precious asset. Before saying yes to any opportunity, assess if it’s the best use of your hours. Limit distractions and single-task to stay fully present. Your time directly drives your output and impact.

Remind yourself daily that your time equals your life’s work. Protect it, savor it, and spend it only on things that truly matter. Valuing time means respecting your limited time on this earth.

The path of the successful writer takes immense courage, persistence, and focus.

But passion for your craft and serving your readers makes the journey incredibly fulfilling.

Implement these 12 habits to boost motivation, productivity, and strategic thinking.

Stay true to your unique strengths and vision.

Surround yourself with support and protect your energy.

With consistency and belief in yourself, your wildest writing goals can become a reality.