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Break Your Writing Bad Habits In 2017
By Bethany Cadman on January 4, 2017
At the start of a new year, it is always good to have some resolutions, or at least make some promises to yourself about which bad habits you will try and tackle to make your writing life better and more productive in 2017. A new year is a perfect time to look back at your writing and see which writing traps you have fallen into, which bad habits you have picked up and decide how you can address them going forward.
Here are some tips on how to break your writing bad habits.
Decide what needs to change.
Don’t just make vague promises to yourself. Think about what needs to change for you to break your bad habits and become a better writer. Often it helps to think about what you need to accomplish and then look at the potential obstacles you might face along the way. Pick a few important things and flesh these out. Being clear about what you want and what would make you feel successful and happy is important – and without this, it will be difficult to break your bad writing habits.
Make a plan
To break bad habits, you need to have a watertight plan. Say your aim is to get an agent this year. First, you need to look at what you have previously done to try and make that happen, then examine everything you could do to achieve your goal. Exhaust all possibilities and give yourself deadlines. Work out every single step you need to take and when you need to take it. This way you can see exactly what you have to do which will make your goal feel much more achievable.
Be practical and realistic
Be fair to yourself and don’t set yourself up for a fall. If one of your bad habits is that you don’t write enough, then give yourself a writing target, but don’t make it impossible to meet. If you don’t write a chapter a day, that’s OK (most of us don’t), but what can you manage? A goal that you can stick to is much better than the one you give up on straight away. Saying that, it is important to challenge yourself too. Writing a sentence a day, for example, won’t get you very far. Your goals should be ones you know you can achieve, but also ones that will make you feel proud of achieving too.
Figure out the why
Think about why you have your bad writing habits and get to the source of them. If you can never have the time to send your manuscript off to publishers is that the real reason, or are you too scared to put yourself out there? If you procrastinate is that because you just have to get those other tasks done, or because you are worried you will disappoint yourself if you do start to write? Face your fears and writing worries and tackle these head on. If you can get past these, then you’ll be ready for anything.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Breaking bad habits can be tough, and it may take several attempts to get it right. Don’t beat yourself up if you find a bad habit slipping back in again. Try different methods and approaches to break it, and adjust your goals if necessary. If you stick with it and persevere, you can tackle all your bad writing habits and start achieving the success you want and deserve.