Five years ago, I retired from a career in teaching. I had discussed my idea for a detective series set in the Driftless Area many times with my husband. About six months into retirement (after I had used up every excuse in the book to put off my project) my husband turned to me one day and said, "When are you going to write those stories?" That was the impetus for beginning a daily writing habit.
About the same time, I came across a book called "Shut Up and Write!" by Judy Bridges, the founder of RedBird Studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So I did what she suggested: I quit talking about writing and actually sat down and wrote. Every day. Sometimes it was only for 15 minutes; other days it was for hours. That habit is what helped me finish my first manuscript, Driftless Gold. Since then I have written four more with plans for my sixth book in the wings. If you are a budding writer, then you must quit talking about writing and start. Write every day.
Another habit that is essential for good writing is reading. I always have a couple of books on my nightstand. I am a huge fan of mystery and crime novels, but I also love historical novels. Lately, I have taken to re-reading my favorite authors with the purpose of studying their literary styles and techniques. This is a great way to observe how authors create suspense and conflict, set the scene, write realistic dialogue, and resolve problems.
With COVID, many of the writing workshops I had hoped to attend have been canceled, but there are many offerings online now. I also read books about writing: Shut Up and Write! by Judy Bridges, Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden, and Writing Mysteries edited by Sue Grafton.