I have a few bad habits as a writer. Things I’ve learnt I routinely need to fix in the editing stage.
One is that I like modifiers… simply, seemed to, a little, just… these words should be used sparingly and yet I like to put them in most sentences for some reason. At least I don’t do that all the time now – just when I’m tired or not paying attention to my sentences.
The other is that I frequently write 3rd person as though the reader needs reminding that my character is the one drinking the coffee or fleeing down the alleyway. (he looked, he turned, he felt) This I have more trouble avoiding when I draft.
I could add a third, in that I don’t ever include a lot of setting, but that one sits somewhere between craft and stylistic preference (I don’t need much setting as a reader so I write more for readers like myself).
The strange thing about these aspects of my writing is that I am acutely aware of them as things to improve on, and yet they come so naturally as I put words on the page that it’s a real struggle to stop.
I decided long ago that this occurs because they are a part of my natural voice as a story-teller. (Some writers have a humourous or lyrical voice that makes their work distinctive… I just happen to have a voice that makes my editor friends want to throw things at my head.) That realisation doesn’t however make it less strange that these habits can be invisible to me even when i know to look for them, but I continue to work on changing that and developing better habits.