Zadie Smith rocked the literary world in her late twenties with her novel White Teeth, a look into various lives in contemporary multicultural London. She followed this up with the novels The Autograph Man and On Beauty, and she is also a leading light in literary criticism. She is considered one of the freshest and most ambitious voices of her generation.
10 Good Writing Habits
- When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
- When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
- Don't romanticise your “vocation." You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no “writer's lifestyle." All that matters is what you leave on the page.
- Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can't do aren't worth doing. Don't mask self-doubt with contempt.
- Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
- Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won't make your writing any better than it is.
- Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.
- Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
- Don't confuse honours with achievement.
- Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand—but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
From an article in The Guardian.