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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > February 2017 > OLD HABITS NEW HABITS

OLD HABITS NEW HABITS

Fix your bad habits and cultivate good ones to prime yourself for success in 2017, with advice from Patrick Forsyth

If there are worse procrastinators than writers I have yet to encounter them. As a breed we also tend to say ‘I really must…’ pretty often; but then often not get round to doing whatever we resolved to do. So in an edition of Writing Magazine where it is not too late to think of making resolutions and a fresh start, let’s see what might make that achievable.

One answer is, in a word, habit. Or rather, it’s the right habits.

To instil the right habits and make them stick you need to be motivated. Sometimes it’s easy. As I start this article, I have a commission. I’ll get paid if I write it satisfactorily so that spurs me on; so too does the thought that if it is late or doesn’t meet the brief then, at worst, it’s unlikely I will be asked to do anything else for the magazine. But if you are writing, say, a novel, a long-term project you have to fit into a busy life, then it’s more difficult. However keen you are to complete it, such projects can easily be put off. So too can certain aspects of selling your work: if your last four suggestions have been ignored or turned down by one particular editor, how easy is it to pitch to them again?

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START FRESH: New year, new adventure • Build your confidence • Fix your bad habits Make 2017 your year! STAR interview: Elif Shafak: Writing across boundaries • 24 writing competitions to enter • £63,980 in writing prizes to be won

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