"You must read alot and write alot." - Steven King in his book, On Writing.
It is as simple as that. A writer needs to read both good and bad examples of writing as his time allows. He also has to practice the craft of actual writing.
So the question most aspiring writers ask: How much is alot?
That question is mostly subjective. So I will answer it with an example on how I work.
First and foremost, life situations always dictate that a schedule is subject to change at any time. This could be school, job, or family. These are things that may be more important than your life long dream.
I write four hours a day. This schedule is somewhat flexible, as I may write for an hour four different times, or all at once. It might be early in the morning or late at night. It is frequently a combo of all of the above.
I can write my blog in conjunction with anything else I may be writing. This also goes for a short story if it's in a different genre than the other project.
I write one book at a time and finish that. I do, however, have a premise written down for the next one, but I do not go beyond that point.
I can write a screenplay or teleplay concurrently with a book. They have to be different genres, and I do not work on both in the same day.
Once a week, those four hours a day is spent on songwriting to the exclusion of all else.
One a month, I pound out a poem. They may subject to constant revision.
I read, on the average, one book a week. This includes audiobooks. It also includes books I read to my kids if it's also new to me.
I watch one feature film a week. The majority of the time it's in the theater, but I include DVD or Blu-ray.
I watch TV an hour a day. This might include a scheduled show or one I have on DVR.
I keep a writing journal. I post something in it everyday. I look at past entries only after I finish a project.
I write down ten ideas a day for a book, film, or TV series. After ten days, I usually have that one great idea.
Finally, once every three months, I take the time and read another writers work and give an honest critique. I will often edit for them if they request.
So, what is your writing habits, fellow scribes?