10 Things Successful Writers Do Differently

Successful writers do things very differently, which enables them to write more effectively. Even if you are not a writer per se, following their cue will help you write more fluidly and effectively.


If you are a writer with a knack for entrepreneurship, you probably have a business you want to launch and grow. In which case, you have to write and spread the word about your business. Whether it is writing blog posts, ad copy, training courses, or social media posts, you have to fit writing into your schedule to spread the message about your business.

Even if you are not a writer per se but you want to grow a business, chances are you are going to have to put words on many pages to take off. This might include crafting the perfect job description to hire your first employee or writing letters to investors about the state of your business. Either way, there is no room for saying you “can’t write” or that you “hate writing.”

Nobody is absolved from having to write well. Unfortunately, writing well for business success is not always easy. But, there is still hope even if you don’t consider yourself a great wordsmith.


What Successful Writers Do Differently to Write More Effectively


Here are some key things successful writers do differently to get the writing done more effectively and grow their business:


1. They define a specific audience to write to beforehand


Successful and effective writers do their research ahead of time to determine precisely who they want to address and what exactly they mean to communicate. They define their ideal audience - that one person or group they want to write to.

Doing that allows them to be razor focused and, therefore, more likely to hit the mark with their writing whether it’s a business pitch, a speech, or a grant proposal.

If you are struggling to write, it may be a sign that you are confused about what you want to say. Condense the main points of what you are trying to say into just a short phrase or sentence, keeping your target audience in mind throughout. You'll have a better chance at composing a tight, organized piece.


2. They schedule time to write.


Writing effectively and fluidly is about achieving rhythm. Effective writers chunk out a few hour-long blocks of time per day into their calendar for writing. This helps them avoid disrupting their own writing flow and rhythm by shifting back and forth between writing and other tasks.

For instance, successful writers could have a strict schedule where they write for an hour or an hour-and-a-half twice a day, maybe early in the morning and then mid-morning. During this time, they just write and get as many words out as they can.

Don’t worry about surface level issues like grammar and word choice at this point; you can always polish that later. Just get your ideas down first. This way you’ll decrease setup/teardown time and improve your flow.


3. They turn off the Internet when writing.


Successful writers eliminate distractions when writing by going offline, because they understand scores of very smart people get paid handsomely to spend all day, every day trying to grab your attention on the internet. And these smart guys are pretty good at what they do—distracting people and drawing our attention away.

So, you will often find that the only program open when successful writers are writing is a word processing program that allows them to focus just on writing on their computer. This is to say they turn off email, social media, text alerts, pop up notifications, and all other distractions online when writing.

You can use apps like the Freedom app to block your internet connections for an allotted time when writing. This will afford you quiet to write as much as you can uninterrupted and be even more productive.


4. They set deadlines for themselves.


Successful writers don’t write for an indefinite time, as already alluded to above. They create a firm time limit for themselves, whether they're on a deadline or not. This allows them to plan their day better and fit in other activities for a truly fruitful workday.

Set a timer and stick to your set deadlines. Do it even if that means asking a friend or family member to follow up with you to make sure you are keeping to your time goals.


5. They write for their medium.


In the past, the only types of writing people mainly did involved writing letters, papers, speeches, and books. That was pretty much it. Today, however, we write everything from emails, tweets, press releases, and blogs.

Bullet points might work on long blog posts, but not on short news stories. News stories in AP style usually make use of short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogs are often relaxed, friendly, personable and can be very opinionated, while sales copy are usually short, direct, and persuasive.

Successful writers know that one particular writing style may be fine for some mediums, but not acceptable for others. And so they write for each medium. Do what’s appropriate for your medium.


6. They focus on function instead of dwelling on perfection.


When successful writers start to write, they just write. They put down on the paper anything and everything that they can think of to support their message. They don’t wait for the perfect words or perfect phrases. They just write.

That’s because they understand that if every word, every sentence has to be a flawless work of art, then you might never get any writing done at all, let alone write fluidly. The sweat might pour, but the words won’t come if you are bent on perfection.

Stop focusing too much on the form of the piece, such as what information should come first or how long the piece should be, or you’ll sit in fear and may never get to the content. Just be reasonable and focus on the content, the medium and the function you want it to serve.

Go back and move sentences around, cut some of them out, rewrite, and do additional editing, but don’t dwell too much on making anything perfect. Perfection is a snare that heaps unnecessary pressure on you and disrupts flow.


7. They embrace the notepad.


Successful writers know they can be inspired to write at just about any time. Many times inspiration comes when you are not focused on writing, such as when in the shower, in bed, or in the car driving.

When topics or ideas for a client report, blog post, or chapter in an upcoming book arise, successful writers have a notepad (or a smartphone, whatever they prefer) on hand to record those thoughts.

That not only allows them to remember the points, but it also helps them to outline the main points they want to include in their writing. It's much easier to write explanatory sentences once you have the main points, themes and issues sorted out.


8. They test their writing.


Successful writers know that they are writing for real people. So, they analyze readability by reading their writing out loud and eliminating misused/overused words, clichés, and redundancies.

When they are convinced their work is good for its intended purpose, they go a step further and test to see if that’s true using writing and editing tools, such as readability apps like ProWritingAid and Readability-Score.com, and also a plagiarism checker.

Besides testing your writing with these tools, if your audience is the general public, you’ll want to write at a seventh-grade level, according to the Plain Language Ad Hoc Committee. And ensure you are providing real value and not plagiarizing.  


9. They share their content with savvy friends before disseminating it to the intended audience.


Successful writers have finished writing, and have tested the writing and found it to be OK, they often send the piece to close friends, a trusted colleague, or other reliable person and just ask for some honest feedback.

There is no shame in doing that. In fact, sharing content with close friends or editorial peers before sharing it with the world or your niche audience can help you avoid a faux pas that could hurt your reputation or that of your business.

Consulting with peers and subject matter experts is also a great way to incorporate useful insights and improve your work. Remember, if you have a unique skill you can offer, swap favors so both parties benefit.


10. They don’t give in to fear.


Successful writers don't give in to those pesky little voices in our heads that haunt us with everything that could go wrong. This is not to say they're not fearful, mind you. Everyone fears sometimes.

No matter how masterful you get as a creative person that fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and nervousness that intimates nobody will like your work never goes away. It’s always there when you are about to release something you’ve created to the world.

However, successful writers and creatives just don’t let the fear, anxiety, or (as Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls it) Resistance stop them from putting their work out anyway. They do listen to the voice of reason and their instincts, but they always embrace their genius even if others don’t. 

See Also: 15 Things Mentally Strong Writers Don't Care For.

Alexis Davis is a senior staff writer and editor at WebWriterSpotlight.com. She covers a wide range of topics for the publication, including trending business, health, and technology stories.

Image Credit: Laura Morton/SFC