If you're looking to adopt some habits that will make you a better writer, look to the pros. Famous writers like Vladmir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Dan Brown have some interesting approaches to writing you can learn from.

From writing early in the morning to caffeinating with 50+ cups of coffee a day, these habits (albeit, some strange) helped transform ordinary people into some of the most beloved writers of all time.

Use Note Cards

Vladmir Nabokov, author of Lolita, organized his writing with a note card system that allowed him to write pieces of his work out of order. Today, you could use software like Airstory or Scrivener to use this same tactic at work. This method is helpful for long-form writing (like a newsletter, speech, etc.)

Write Early in the Morning

Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath got up in the wee hours of the morning (between 4 and 6 a.m.) to work on writing before the day's distractions got in the way. If you struggle to concentrate on writing during normal working hours, think about getting up a bit earlier so you can focus without interruptions while the world is still asleep.


Now, it's probably not a good idea to drink 50+ cups of coffee a day like French novelist Honore de Balzac did. However, a bit of a caffeine buzz can help you gain focus and clarity when your brain starts to snooze. Just don't overdo it.


Writers like Jack London knew that when it comes to writing, practice makes perfect. He was known to write 1,000 words per day--every single day. Other writers (like Norman Mailer and Stephen King) are supporters of the daily word count practice, too. If you have 15-30 spare minutes in a day, think about using those to sit down and write.

Keep a Notebook Handy

Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, was known to keep a notebook in his pocket at all times so he could scribble down thoughts and ideas whenever the moment struck. You can do the same with your smartphone (and never risk loosing a scrap of loose paper.)

Finding Habits that Work for You

Maybe you're not a big coffee drinker and you can't commit to daily practice. That's okay. The bottom line: Great writers find habits that work for them--and help them constantly improve their work.