Key principles

[adapted from Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write by Helen Sword]

The Writing BASE is a self-diagnostic tool designed to help you broaden and strengthen your writing practice. The four cornerstones of the BASE reflect key principles distilled from the advice and experiences of productive writers from across the disciplines and around the world:


Behavioral habits

Successful writers carve out time and space for their writing in a striking variety of ways, but they all do it somehow. (Key habits of mind: persistence, determination, passion, pragmatism, “grit.”)


Artisanal habits

Successful writers regard writing as an artisanal activity that requires ongoing learning, development, and skill. (Key habits of mind: creativity, craft, artistry, patience, practice, perfectionism [but not too much!], a passion for lifelong learning.)


Social habits

Successful writers seldom work entirely in isolation; even in traditionally “sole author” disciplines, they typically rely on other people – colleagues, friends, family, editors, reviewers, audiences, students – to provide them with support and feedback. (Key habits of mind: collegiality, collaboration, generosity, openness to both criticism and praise.)


Emotional habits

Successful writers cultivate modes of thinking that emphasize pleasure, challenge, and growth. (Key habits of mind: positivity, enjoyment, satisfaction, risk-taking, resilience, luck.)


About the BASE tool

The Writing BASE is a diagnostic tool designed to help you build a more productive writing practice.
© Helen Sword