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‘How to build a writing habit’ is clickbait for writers. Habits are a magic bullet to kill procrastination and end struggles with willpower. But beware! Writing does not meet the scientific definition of a habit so striving for the gold standard will end in failure. However, understanding how habits are formed can you set up a routine that will keep you writing long term.

Ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus said that: “every habit and faculty is maintained and increased by the corresponding actions: the habit of walking by walking, the habit of running by running. …


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Getting clarity on your writing dreams helps you take action to achieve them. From visualising a simple goal, to a story about the future, to getting creative with sticky tape and crayon, here are 8 expert exercises to help you visualise writing success.

1. From affirmations to identity

Affirmations are positive statements that challenge and overcome self-limiting beliefs. The theory is that by repeating them frequently, you begin to believe them, and can start to make positive changes in your life.

Often found at the hyperbolic end of the self-help spectrum, they have a bad rep. Yet there’s evidence they can prime us to change…


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“I shall be a bestselling writer” wrote Octavia E Butler in 1988. She is not alone in fantasising about writing chart-topping books — I’d wager most writers have dreamed of such a thing.

Butler was a struggling writer when she wrote a private manifesto for success in the front cover of her spiral notebook, her childhood ambition to tell stories had been battered by years of rejection, setbacks and prejudice.

She went on to become the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur genius grant, receiving the PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing, multiple awards from Hugo…


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There are many things that can kickstart your writing and keep you going when motivation is low, life is busy and you have no time to write. Find out how observation can help you build the tools, tactics and techniques to keep you writing long term.

Yesterday I was driving in the middle lane of Manchester’s M60 motorway. In the slow lane to the left of me an articulated lorry laden with goods made steady progress, on my right an Audi was speeding to overtake me. Suddenly, we all slowed to the same speed. …


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“Eat, Pray, Love would not exist without The Artist’s Way.” Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t the only writer who credits their success to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. With a variety of fans from authors Patricia Cornwell and Russell Brand to songwriters Pete Townshend and Alicia Keys The Artist’s Way is the source of many creative breakthroughs and bestsellers. Find out what’s involved in this 12-week course and how it can help you write.

Elizabeth Gilbert was mid-divorce and in a terrible depression when someone gave her a copy of The Artist’s Way. It changed her life.

The 12-week course gave her…


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I’m a sucker for a writer’s origin story. That moment of inspiration and enlightenment, when the muse visits, an idea is sparked and creativity flamed. While I picture a wildfire, the reality is someone patiently fanning the flames to keep the spark alight for many years. Creative persistence isn’t a gripping yarn, but the slog is where the secret of success really lies.

Take Charles Dickens, a jobbing journalist who penned comic sketches under a pseudonym. I’m sure he could have made a fair living as a sketch writer, churning out satirical snippets to amuse Victorian newspaper readers, but his…


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We’ve all heard the advice to write daily, to allow time for deep work and uninterrupted focus. But for many writers, that’s just not possible. Find out about time confetti and how to write spontaneously when scheduled sessions just aren’t possible.

No time to write

“I mean, none of us anymore have long leisurely uninterrupted days to write,” said Cynthia Selfe*. A distinguished humanities professor-emeritus at the Ohio State University, Selfe is a prolific writer, with five books, 10 edited collections and nearing a hundred papers to her name. Yet she has no time to write.

Her solution is to fit writing around her…


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In a one-off agony aunt feature, our Bookmachine blog editor, Abbie Headon, has a problem. Can productivity guru Bec Evans of Prolifiko help her out?

Abbie writes:

Picture the scene… It’s late July, and I’ve been in lockdown for four months. I was already working from home four days a week before the virus hit, but now there is only home and only this desk. I feel as if London and all other workspaces are myths. Collaborators exist on screens and may not have lower halves — the jury’s out. And I. Can. Not. Focus. …


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‘Fixed schedule productivity’ is an approach that encourages writers to make better use of their time. Find out how one advocate organises their schedule, prioritises their tasks and still finishes work on time.

Humans have a tendency to coordinate their schedules. We’re social beings, who succumb to pressure and follow the crowd. That’s why some workplaces have a culture of presenteeism, where staying late is the norm, regardless of how productive it is. Take researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who fall into a bruising noon to 3am work pattern known as ‘MIT cycle’. It takes a brave…


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While writing might be a solitary pursuit all writers can benefit from connection. Find out how to get accountability, support and solidarity from writing communities. Tap into some of the best free resources and get inspired to write with others.

Poet Emily Dickinson is the poster girl for reclusive writers. In 19th Century Massachusetts she famously retreated from society to write.

However, even the most solitary of writers can benefit from having a community and that was the case for Dickinson. …

Bec Evans

Author of How to Have a Happy Hustle, founder Prolifiko writes about innovation, creativity, philosophy, productivity & writing.

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