No, not breaking out of a habit as in wanting to quit smoking or give up on excessively fatty, but wonderfully yummy, food! I thought I would share today some ideas on getting out of habits that diminish the power of your writing.

1. Being aware : As in any other form of improvement, the first step is to be aware that you have gotten into a habit! For example, when I was editing my book, I myself was shocked at the number of times I had used the word “realized”. Other frequently used words were “suddenly” and ” not surprisingly”. I am sure you may have some words you use so often that they tend to get over used. Go through your writings and identify them.

2. Alternates: The reason that you probably over use words is simply because you are accustomed to using them. They are not necessarily the best or the most appropriate words! It’s become a habit with you. Consciously stay away from these words. Sure, it calls for effort but you can’t improve without any effort, can you? As you instinctively use the same old words, stop yourself and think of alternates. If you need to, consult a Thesaurus. As your vocabulary increases, you will find yourself less dependent on the same old words.

3. Experiment: We get into a groove because we think the same old way. This applies to our writing as well. Experiment with different styles. If earlier you were weak in writing dialogues, consciously attempt to incorporate more dialogues in your writing. If earlier, you were hesitant to be descriptive, just go ahead and describe what you see in your mind. Over time you will find new strength in your writing.

These are thought based on my own experience. I would love to hear your ideas. What are the habits that are weakening your writing?