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Clare and Chrissy examine their habits...

Clare and Chrissy tackle their bad habits.

Clare and Chrissy: Happy Holidays everyone! We’re a little bit scattered as we are not only rushing about with friends and family, but also traveling the web with our Winter Warmers promo efforts.

Clare: And fending off whatever office illness is making the rounds this week. *cough**cough*

Chrissy: *pets* Poor baby. A big thank you to everyone who’s supported us with this release.

Clare: We’d love to offer you all a Pink Squirrel on us, but since we can’t manage to a meet up at the same pub we’ll share the recipe later in this post instead.

Chrissy: So, December, huh? Man, 2011 went by in a blur. It must be part of that getting older thing everyone talks about.

Clare: Speak for yourself. I’m just as springy of a chicken as I’ve always been.

Chrissy: Nope. I’m not touching that one.

Clare: A wise choice. Amidst the chaos of our month we needed to decide on a topic for this blog post.

Chrissy: We know what you’re thinking, it’s December, a new year approaches, and this is yet another blog post on resolutions. Well, surprise! It’s not. We may touch on them - how can we get to the end of a calendar year without being seduced by that Review and Regroup mood?…

Clare: … but we're not into recriminations from 2011 or raising false expectations for 2012 :). Let's ignore the resolutions both kept and un-kept that are lurking in our backgrounds and turn our attention instead toward habits.

Chrissy: Which, assuming we ever manage to keep any resolution longer than a day or two, is what that bit of wishful thinking might eventually become.

"Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters." Nathaniel Emmon

Chrissy: Look at us, back with the quotes again.

Clare: That's *your* department, girl, you always find some that fit so well. As we like to do when tackling a subject, we first start with a definition. Once again turning to our trusty Wikipedia.

Chrissy: ‘Cause, of course, a group compendium of knowledge never leaves us astray.

Clare: Shush. And according to Wikipedia, a habit is "an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically."

"First we make our habits, then our habits make us." Charles C. Noble

Chrissy: Let’s face it, we humans are creatures of habit. We can’t seem to avoid it. Whether it’s sitting in the same seat every day in grade school, eating the same thing every day for breakfast...

Clare: Or going out with the same type of bloke, our brains are trained to recognize, and respond to patterns.

Chrissy: Sometimes this is good.

Clare: And sometimes this is very, very bad.

Chrissy: But, I love my patterns!!

Clare: I’m sure you do, sweetie, we *all* do, assuming they're chocolate flavoured, that is. But good habit or bad, if we agree with our trusted friend, Wikipedia, both are merely actions that been repeated often enough in our lives that they become part of it.

Chrissy: We start out with the best of intentions. Deciding to exercise every day, eating more fruit, or maybe just spending more time with friends and family.

Clare: Worthy choices, all. And if we're consistent enough in our follow-through, we develop a habit for this behaviour. *pauses for effect and imagines Chrissy rolling eyes*

Chrissy: We’ve all heard it takes 21 days to make a habit.

Clare: But has anyone ever explained why it takes less time to develop a poor habit, than a helpful one?

Chrissy: Trust me, three days in a row of having chocolate after dinner and I’m totally irrational if denied on the fourth day.

Clare: Excuse me whilst I bite my lip.

Chrissy: Clare

Clare: Moving on, moving on. I can tell you, it'll take more than 21 days of walking at lunch everyday to miss it on a day I skip.

Chrissy: The same thing can happen with our writing.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Jim Rohn

Clare: As authors, we're constantly reading about the need to create a writing habit. Finding that perfect little ritual that will spur us on when our enthusiasm is weak, our Muse is sulking, and our favorite show is on the television. Over time, we hope these rituals will become habits.

Chrissy: There are all kinds of ways and hows on the process. Just do a Google search.

Clare: But, we’re not here to decide what advice is good, or what is totally unhelpful. We want to cut right to the heart of the matter.

Chrissy: Just because something works for someone else…

Clare: ...does it work for US?

Chrissy: Certainly it doesn’t hurt to try different things when it comes to our writing.

Clare: What’s important is to stay flexible.

Chrissy: So, before we get too set in our ways and cement our habits into our lives we need to stop and ask ourselves, is this MY way, or just another highway?

Clare: If the answer is not for me, then toss it. And try something else.

Clare and Chrissy: What do you think? Have you tried something guaranteed by others that just left you cold? If you’re an author, have you tried to follow someone else’s writing advice and gotten nowhere fast? Do resolutions really ever stick around long enough to become habits? Let us know what you think (and if you are making any resolutions this year), and be entered in our random drawing to win some of our festive Clare and Chrissy Swag. Winner to be announced at our next monthly blog post.

November Winner: [personal profile] idamus - Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to Chrissy at chrissymunder@yahoo.com for your festive Clare and Chrissy Swag.

Missed any of our posts? Follow the 'sticky' post for these rambles of ours HERE.

Check out our latest anthology release, Winter Warmers with Lou Harper, Josephine Myles, and JL Merrow.

Here's Chrissy! website // blog.

Here's Clare! website // blog.

As promised, here's how you make a Pink Squirrel:

Pink Squirrel
1 1/2 msr white creme de cacao (dark will do, which makes a Dirty Squirrel)
1 1/2 msr amaretto
1 msr double cream
1/4 msr grenadine

Rim a champagne saucer with lemon and sugar. Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and flaked almonds sprinkled on top. Mmm... tasty and sophisticated looking!

Enjoy one for New Years!



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
I've tried some of the more structured 'writing habits' and by the time I've finished 'structuring' I'm so bored with the whole idea that I give up. But I think it is good to try different ways of writing because there might be a better way out there. Sometimes a different story will need a different approach and if you've already got the rules in your head maybe it'll fit.

Did somebody mention chocolate?
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
I'm with you on that - I don't have the self-discipline to structure from the start, though I've always found benefit when I've paused to do some *during*! You're right, it's good to remain flexible, and there's not necessarily one answer for all types of wrigting. That heartens me greatly!

*throws you plenty of chocolate*
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Here's to us all being "bendy" writers in 2012 (for some reason I keep hearing Bruce Lee's voice in my head). And more stories written about chocolate.
Dec. 21st, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
One thing that's worked for me is to set up iCal to pop up a message to tell me to meditate every day, and then not allowing myself to close the irritating little dialog box until I've done it. Tough love.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
I use pop-up reminders a lot. One, it's the only way I remember things nowadays, and two, it's an external prompt like you describe. If it's on my screen, I feel guilty if I dismiss it :)
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
I am still laughing over your very apt description: irritating little dialog box . But that's what makes these type of reminders worth their weight...in chocolate.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 22nd, 2011 09:37 am (UTC)
I found that was what worked for me this year too. I have days where I don't write at all with RL doing it's thing, but when I do write I average anywhere between 600-1300 plus words so keeping to a weekly average works better. I feel as though I'm achieving that way rather than not achieving which helps my state of mind ergo more writing gets done.

200K for the year sounds a decent amount - that's about what I'm aiming for as well.

Happy writing for 2012.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)
*nod* I personally prefer a monthly goal, and at the moment I don't work on wordcount so much as project i.e. finish a short, do a chapter etc. That seems to spur me on. But then I spend all my writing time constantly refreshing the Recount button, so the word count obviously does inspire me as well :).
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:41 am (UTC)
Good for you :). Resolutions have to be personalised, and have to be motivational, not *de*motivating. I always quote Trollope (I think) who wrote 1000 words a day, but unless that's the mainstay of your life, I don't think that gives you enough scope for a more rounded life :).

200k is brilliant and, as you say, represents novels(s), not just words. You encouraged me to go away and count up the words I'd written in 2011 and it's nowhere near 200k *sigh*. But I also need a goal like that to keep me moving forward, so I'm working on it :).
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)
It's quite interesting to hear from a group of writers how the pressures of a daily word count just aren't realistic in many of our busy lives. And the modifications taken. Quite thought provoking, actually. A good sign of being flexible.

edited for the dreaded typo

Edited at 2011-12-23 09:40 pm (UTC)
Dec. 21st, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Pink Squirrel!! Wow, that looks dangerous.

I like structure and I like deadlines. Stories that I'm writing casually are the ones I find difficult to finish, novels especially.

My resolution this year is to finish at least one of the two novels I have on the go. that should be possible, shouldn't it?
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
I can assure you the Pink Squirrel is happily tame to its friends :)

I know you can do it! I speak from the POV of a fellow author who ALSO has rwo novels on the go that I want to finish. Perhaps we should start up a support group?!! :)

*hugs* and happy Christmas :).

Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oooh, yes, Elin. A lovely resolution. Give us a shout if you feel yourself flagging, we'll line up with support at the ready.
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
And why is it so easy to break good habits like exercise, when it's so hard to get them going? Um, hypothetical question, OF COURSE.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
It's just one of the Great Core Mysteries of life ... LOL.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
*snicker* And one mystery I doubt anyone feels any need to solve.
Josephine Myles
Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
I know I need to cultivate a few more good writing habits, because I know on the occasions I've tried them in the past, they work. Do I make a routine of them, though? Uh, not yet. I'll have another go in January, though. These are the habits I hope to cultivate:

Eating a proper breakfast.

Avoiding the lure of sugar and caffeine while working.

Making myself a spirulina fruit smoothie every morning - it's brain food!

Meditating for five minutes before starting writing.

Sticking to one hour bursts and taking a proper break inbetween (away from the computer, that is)

Exercise - I'm thinking twenty minutes of dancing crazily to cheesy 70s disco with my daughter after school every day should do it. Let's face it, excercise has to be fun if I've any chance of keeping it up.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
These are REALLY good and thoughtful, and I should take better note in 2012 myself :). I particularly like the idea of meditating first - so often I go to the screen and find myself sighing, as if it's a chore ahead of me. I need to split my work and leisure on a better way :)

And the cheesy disco dancing is an *excellent* idea. Unfortunately, I said that aloud at home and now I think they're going to get me one of those Wii dancing games for Xmas :):):). But seriously, you're so right that it has to be FUN. I stopped my daily walk when it got cold and damp, I have little stamina.

have a wonderful Xmas with your family, and I'm looking forward to hosting you in Jan, send me your preferred date when you can *hugs*.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
Wonderful habits to cultivate in 2012, Jo. Best of luck turning them into tried and true.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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