Borrowing Habits

Did you ever wish you could magically transfer some good habits from one area of your life and apply them to your writing? You probably can!

The “successful role model” in the quote at the left could be you.

Who, Me?

“But I don’t have self-discipline in anything!” you might say. You may feel that way, but it’s probably not true. Don’t believe me? Think about something you’re especially good at. Next, write down five or six habits you practice regularly that make you successful in this area. (Can be anything: running races, keeping a clean house, raising children who like vegetables, keeping your weight stable through the holidays…anything.)

I Don’t Think About It

Perhaps you said, “Well, I was a good student” or “I learned to play the piano,” but you’re not sure what habits made you successful. If that’s the case, pretend that someone approached you and said, “I’d love to be as self-disciplined as you are with your (fitness, music, housekeeping, whatever). Tell me how you do it!” Then make a list of what you do. Which of those habits can you transfer over to your writing life and make them work for you?

The habits that help you lose weight or be fit or run a business might include:

  • having a support system
  • keeping a written record (of food eaten, miles run, income/expenses)
  • setting small, sustainable goals
  • journaling through successes and failures
  • monitoring self-talk to counter-act negative thoughts and beliefs

Borrow Those Habits!

The next time you can’t seem to make yourself write or blog or do market research (or whatever is on your “to do” list for the writing day), think about areas where you are successful. Borrow those habits–they’re habits you already have under your belt in one area–and simply apply them to your writing.

  • Does having a support group help you lose weight? Then maybe a support/critique group would help you be accountable for your writing.
  • Does keeping written records help you balance your budget? Then maybe keeping records of pages or words written and marketing progress would help your writing.
  • Did setting small daily goals help you get your closets and garage clean? Then would setting small daily goals help you get your book written?

Build on Past Success

Good habits free up our time and attention so we can focus on more important things than overcoming procrastination. Chances are very good that you have had success in at least one or two other areas of your life. Take time to analyze those habits that work for your particular personality–and try applying them to your writing life. Success may be easier than you think.

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