rowing your craft as an aspiring author may seem like a heavy task to accomplish, as the journey grows steeper and you may doubt why you chose the path of becoming an author from the outset.
Although developing good writing habits is indeed the surest way to beat the odds and boost your morale to write consistently, it could become a tad overwhelming when you feel you are alone in it.
Honestly, you aren’t.
In this special blog post, I’ll be sharing insights on the daily writing habits of 15 inspiring African Authors I respect.
This post provides you an opportunity to meet these amazing authors, learn about their habits, and find the comfort, motivation and drive you need to keep on grinding.
Meet these Inspiring African Authors
I’ll treat you to a brief bio and spill the tea on their writing habits, rituals, daily routines, and processes that have kept them going strong and meeting up with their writing goals.
Hang tight and let’s dig in.
Leigh: Author of the sensational book: My Grandfather’s Inheritance: The Fox
I try to write every day and if I can’t; I read books in my genre.
When I can’t write and I’m stuck, I go to the gym. I find myself plotting while exercising, which is a good thing for me.
One bad habit I have when writing is I forget to eat.
So I have people who check in on me when I am working on deadlines who ask. Have you eaten? What keeps me motivated, is the fact that I know every day I write I become better.
Timi Waters: Author of the emotional romance novel: Haven, A Twin Bliss Resort Novel
I’m a coffee lover, so what I do most time is make a strong cup of coffee, put on my favorite music, and get lost in a creative realm.
Emem Bassey: Author of steamy contemporary romance: Fair Odds (Retired Navy Men Series #1) featuring plus-sized heroines
Writing has become so part of me that missing a day makes me uncomfortable.
I keep an open mind during travels, conversations, seeing movies, reading, etc and that’s how I get inspired.
A simple line in a conversation could result in a whole book, which has happened several times for me. While writing, I use my Note App to jot down the progression of chapters.
And if while writing, I get fresh ideas; I use the app to pen down those ideas, so I never lack what to write when I’m done with a project.
That way too, one never suffers from unnecessary writer’s block. Basically, when you write what you know and love, the job becomes less cumbersome.
Edidiong Esshiet: Author of the sensational novel: The Lagos Swap
I write at midnight when my environment is calm. I write using my PC and I listen to music while writing.
Whenever I’m not getting the best out of my draft, I take a break, read books, watch movies, and listen to music.
Ufuomaee: Author of heartwarming Christian series: The Native Wife Trilogy
I usually need a certain environment to get started, so I create the conditions by getting alone, freeing my mind of distractions, and meditating while imagining the first scenes.
Once it starts flowing, I can write anywhere, as I write using my WordPress app on my phone. Depending on the flow, I can write about 2000 to 5000 words a day.
I take regular breaks, reward myself, and observe me-times to keep me motivated and create some distance between my life and my story… before I immerse myself in my characters’ world again.
Camaa Pearl: Author of Eccentric Contemporary Romance: Gaga Crazy
When I write first drafts, I usually sprint, using voice to text.
The first draft is always messy, but you can see the outline there. Once done, I begin the painfully slow but worthy process of layering and editing.
If I get stuck, there’s a lot to do to get me back on track, like taking walks, talking about the story idea with close friends, and writing pals.
As for when I write? I’m still learning! For first drafts, I can burst out 50k in less than two weeks, but editing? Uh oh… I’m still learning.
Tolu’ A. Akinyemi: Author of the book: Inferno of Silence
My writing etiquette is multifaceted. I’m disciplined to the core when writing a new book, and always maintain a high level of focus.
However, I tend not to constrain myself to any writing rules.
I hear some authors have writing targets: daily, weekly, etc. I have achieved outstanding success on my writing journey even without setting targets.
There are other rituals that fuel my creativity and keep me going, like running approximately five miles every morning, which I have done consistently for over ten years, and skipping rope daily.
Physical fitness imbues my mental ability and helps to keep the creative flames alive. I’m also motivated not to have unfinished projects; hence, this spurs me to always create and finish ongoing projects on a timely basis.
I’m literally writing right now.
Amaka Azie: Author of Contemporary Romance Suspense Novel: The Senator’s Daugther
When I get an idea, I write it down first. My next step is to put down an outline of the entire story. Next, I flesh out each main character and give him or her a backstory.
Only after that do I write, and I only write on my days off.
As a part-time family doctor, I barely find the time to write, but I have a little room called my writing cave, where I escape to be alone to write.
I try to be consistent and write 3 days a week for an hour or two. Music motivates me to keep writing. Listening to lyrics of rhythm and blues or soul music has a way of flooding me with ideas whenever I’m in a writing rot.
I have Toni Braxton’s sad love songs to thank for pulling me out of many “writer’s block” situations.
O.J Ebubeoha: Author of the Contemporary Romance Novel: Ignited Passions
It takes good morning music, a glass of cold water, and a box of sweets – if it’s handy – to get my groove on.
Other times, it could take a warm morning shower, some soulful humming, and a little tinkering with my story idea or personal musings to get my creative juices flowing freely.
Jules Rae: Author of Inspirational Novel: A Girl Called Omoye
I start with a simple idea. “What if….” Then, if it’s interesting enough, I draft an outline, which would most likely be bullet points of the beginning and end. Sometimes I don’t have a middle at this point. Next, I visualize.
I visualize each scene, how the characters look, their mannerisms, and their quirks. I’m a night owl, so I do my best writing at night.
I try to put in as many words as possible, but I can’t sit in front of a computer screen for long, so I make sure I take breaks.
I use Google Docs so I can at least write my first draft with my phone when I am away from the computer. After I finish my first draft, which is filled with main dialogue and spelling errors.
I go back and read it to see if it makes sense sometimes it doesn’t. This means I’ll have to rewrite and introduce new scenes and new plot points.
With each new rewrite, I add flesh (information) to my skeletal draft. Information like weather, location, character gestures, and emotional reactions.
Next, I will give my manuscript to some of my friends to critique or beta-read. This part is brutal. It’s not fun. Lol, but it’s necessary.
Hopefully, they are not “yes men” they help to tell what’s working and what’s is not working. Next, I bawl out my eyes because of the number of rewrites I have to do.
After that, I pulled myself back up and get back to the computer and get to writing. Edit like crazy. And hopefully, publish.
Nana Prah: Author of Steamy Romance: The Resolute Prince
My one rule when I sit down to write is to get out 50 words. Sometimes those 50 words turn into a thousand while other times it stays at 50. It’s usually somewhere in between. I usually write in the evenings because I’m relaxed.
I prefer silence because I tend to dance and sing more than write when I listen to music. I don’t force myself to write every day, but I don’t wait until I’m motivated to do so either.
I have a goal in mind when I create a story and I try to reach it without stressing myself out. Creating for me is an enjoyable experience and I like to write in a manner that keeps it that way.
My advice is to try different routines and choose one that suits you best. Set your objectives and seek to reach them. Nothing is stopping you.
A.Ziat: Author of Contemporary Romance: The Ceo’s Affair
Most often, I set a time limit for myself, find someone I am answerable to who I cannot disappoint, and have to submit to consistently.
At the end of the day… It’s all about discipline for me. Doing what I have to do even when I don’t want or feel like doing it.
Aminat Sanni-Kamal: Author of the Contemporary Series: Love Like Morning Dew: First Kiss
The habits I have recently just acquired are planning, plotting, and organizing. A lot of things are happening in my head at the same time, so organizing my thoughts helps makes the process easier.
I say this a lot, I love writing but sometimes, I don’t enjoy it, but what keeps me going is the end result. Knowing my book will have a place in the heart of my readers is my biggest motivation.
Grace Onyema: Author of Self-Help Book: Productivity Boarding
Here are some of my Writing Habits, Routines, and Rituals:
1.) My best style of writing is the traditional method – pen and a notepad. I prefer writing in a book first, before typing on a computer. If I try any other method, I would get stuck after a few sentences.
2.) I prefer writing while playing music with my headphones: I created a playlist to this effect. It takes my mind off thinking about the stress of writing, and I can easily take a break, dance a little, then continue.
3.) Before I start writing, I do my best to break down the book project into milestones and start getting them done one after the other. Whichever one I start, I do my best to complete it at least 80-90%, before going to another. That way, I can easily come back and finish it up.
4.) I design my book covers myself, so when I start writing a book and feel the block coming up, maybe because it’s a niche I’m not passionate about (e.g. a client’s work), I design the covers first. Getting a beautiful cover designed gives me the motivation to create a beautiful manuscript.
5.) To avoid terrible burnout, I sleep, play games, and see movies in between writing a book. This helps me relax and ease off stress.
6.) I work with DEADLINE!: This is one of my biggest motivations. That way, I’m focused on completing my writing and programming my mind to get the work done.
Funom Yakubu: Author of the Heartwarming Novel: Love, Mide
First of all, I like writing very early in the morning. Before I leave my room to interact with the world, I will write before my mind gets clouded with other things.
Also, music is great for me. It helps me immerse myself in the emotions and all the feelings I’m trying to convey.
Depending on the mood, that’s the genre I’ll listen to. I also speak my script to myself, by becoming the character and playing out the events to myself.
Joy Folorunsho: Author of Self Help Book: For Every Writer: A Practical Guide On How To Generate Enough Story /Article Ideas and Write Compelling Content
Okay, writing. I’ve heard this word all through the week that I think I just might lose it but then writing has always been my haven. So, here are my writing habits, routines, and rituals that get me started and going.
1. Free writing to disrupt Writer’s Block: Freewriting is simply writing anything in your writing space within a set period of time.
Let’s say, the Writer’s block came visiting now I don’t want to be rude but I want her to take her to leave without asking, I simply set my timer to 5 seconds and write whatever comes to mind until the 5 seconds elapsed.
I do this continuously until ideas start pouring in.
2. Have a journal for jotting down quotes, advice, and sentence starters gotten from our everyday interaction with the environment, movies, books, and people. This is to have story ideas to fall back on in the days of creative idea scarcity.
3. If you can’t decide which book cover to use, run a poll on all social networks I belong to, and trust me, words from your audience are just right (sometimes)
4. When it gets overwhelming, take a break. Sometimes that’s just what the brain needs in order to function properly. Go for a walk. Interact with nature and you’ll just be fine.
Writing habits are particular to every individual and as an aspiring author, you need to dig deep to find out what keeps you moving.
These amazing and inspiring African Authors, some of whom are award-winning authors, and international and national bestsellers, have shared from their hearts, the key ingredients that keep them running toward the finish line.
Developing good writing habits will take some time and patience, but you’ll get there, eventually, and own up to your writing goals.
We are rooting for you Author, you’ve got this.