Writing Habits-Starting Out on the Right Foot

It’s a brand New Year, which brings new writing opportunities and challenges. I’m not a new year’s resolution kinda girl but I do believe in setting firm goals. Setting goals is only part of the big picture. Establishing good habits is essential in order to reach your writing goals. Here are some healthy writing habits that may help.

1.  New year. New Workspace.

Clear out your writing space. File, turf or reorganise the old to make way for the new. Sort through old papers, and throw away anything that no longer serves your writing life. You might want to post your 2010 writing goals somewhere highly visible, to remind you of the writing direction you are headed in this year. Reclaim your writing space. It’s the place where you create your magic. It deserves to be filled with positive energy. Settling into a clean and organised writing space is far more pleasant than facing a big mess each day.

Productivity 501 has an excellent article on doing the big desk tidy.

2. Having a Plan

This year I created and bound a writing and illustration planner. It contains the projects I am working on, timelines for those projects, competitions, events and writing group meetings. Having a plan keeps you on track. Being able to see that plan becomes a constant reminder to your subconscious each time your eyes flicker past your goals.

Make sure your goals are realistic. And make sure that when you achieve each goal, you reward yourself with something nice. Plan the reward when you set the goal. It will give you more drive to complete the task.

Sometimes it is better to set small goals and build from there. Achieving small goals encourages you to keep going and also strengthens good habits.

Moira Allen has a great article on setting goals here.

3. Scheduling Time

Finding the time to write seems almost impossible some days. Where possible, schedule a block of time for you and your muse. Preferably make sure you can work uninterrupted and use that time for you and you alone. It may only be twenty minutes – but it’s twenty minutes dedicated to your craft. If you can’t manage that much time, keep a notepad handy always and scribble in any spare minute you can. People write novels on trains and buses, at red lights, in lunch breaks – in all manner of places. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, three hours – it doesn’t matter how long. What matters is that you embrace the time that you have and use it wisely. Every second that your pen hits the page, your story advances toward ‘The End’. Make every second count

4. Read, Read and Read Some More.

All writers give the same advice over and over. They all tell you to read. Reading is essential to a writer. It stimulates your thinking, gets the cogs whirring, and fills you with inspiration and motivation. Make sure you schedule reading time as well as writing time. Feed your brain books. Your creativity will love you for it.

There are many rules of good writing, but the best way to find them is to be a good reader.

Stephen Ambrose

5. Celebrate the Good Days

There will be great writing days and perhaps no so great writing days this year. Celebrate the good ones. Be kind to yourself during the less than good ones. We all know the difference between a bad day and a slack day. Bad days happen. Slack days needn’t. If you are well prepared for each writing day, you are less likely to fall off the path and lose the way.

May you all have a fantastic and productive 2010. Put your best foot forward with good writing habits that you can stick to.

It’s only the beginning…and anything is possible.


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