1. You read. A lot. The more you read, the more you learn to recognize patterns in others’ work as well as your own, as well as which of your own tendencies you’d like to correct or focus on.
2. You don’t just sit around talking about how you want to be a better writer. You spend most of your available time actually writing … so that you can become a better writer.
3. Even if you don’t write every day (which isn’t actually a requirement), you do make it a point to give writing your full attention on a regular basis.
4. You have at least one clear goal about what you want your writing to accomplish someday.
5. You’ve found “backup” creative outlets to stimulate your mind and keep you motivated whenever you need to take a quick break from writing.
6. You don’t worry about writing everything perfectly the first time. You just write, hope for the best, and know you can go back and improve it later.
7. You have action plans in place for handling your most distracted and unfocused moments.
8. You only compare your writing with someone else’s when you’re looking for specific elements to improve on, not to belittle or discourage yourself.
9. When you ask for feedback, you’re able to pinpoint exactly which part of your writing you want constructively criticized.
10. You seek out opportunities to write first and foremost instead of just opportunities to get feedback or get published.
11. You’re constantly expanding your creative horizons, telling new stories and challenging yourself to refine your style and avoid telling the same formulaic stories over and over again.
12. You don’t just want to be better. You’re actively working toward taking those steps to improve, no matter how long it takes to see results.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.