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This month Simon Whaley shows us the value of media packs, Ten Top Tips covers reader’s letters, plus there are success stories and ideas to inspire.

Hello again,

So the snow is slowly leaving us only to be replaced with oh-so-dreary rain. Honestly, we are never happy – when it was snowing we were praying for rain!

As the New Year’s Resolutions start to fall by the wayside I thought I’d have a look at how to keep them going by making them habits. This is particularly useful for writers as one of the key ways to improve, and get over writer’s block, is to make sure you sit down and do some every day – even if you don’t feel like it. Habits can take various lengths of time to become so. Essentially, depending on you and how much effort you are prepared to put in. The well-known time touted on the internet is 21 days, but this is unsupported by research. New findings have shown that it takes, on average, 66 days to form a new habit. So, if you are finding it difficult to stick to what you’ve decided on – be patient and give it a little more time. It’ll soon become second nature.

The winner of our first 21st Birthday Competition – a poem in 21 words – is Su Hughes. Well done Su! You can read her winning entry in the End Note. There’s still time to enter this month’s competition, which is to write a headline for our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course, and win a copy of The Complete Copywriter Course.

World Story Telling Day takes place on 20th March and you can add your events to the mix by registering and promoting them via the website forum. This year’s theme is Light and Shadow and you should try to share your stories with as many people as possible on that day. And, for those who’d like to join in but feel they don’t have the skills yet our Novel and Short Story Writing course covers all the basics to get you started.

This month we have a great article from tutor Simon Whaley showing us the wealth of information in media packs (if you want to see Simon, and some of our other tutors, click the videos tab on the website). Ten Top Tips covers reader’s letters, a quick and easy way to pad out your portfolio with added perks. Our Success Story comes from Pranav in India and is particularly inspiring. Plus there’s the usual hit of useful websites and article ideas for you to ponder.

For those eager to mingle, get yourself off to an event in your area and see where it takes you. You could, for example, visit Bethseda, USA and pop into the Writers Centre, they host workshops and events to help writers of all levels and genres. For those who like to perform there’s an open-mic for poetry and prose on the 28th February from 2-4pm and it’s free!

Perhaps your writer’s circle/group would like to learn about sacred texts and how to research them for source material. If so, and there are at least 10 of you, you could book a session with the British Library. They take place every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year. They are free and you get to work with creative educators who’ll teach you the skills needed to investigate the text. There are other workshops, so have a scout around - I’m sure you’ll find one you like.

In fact, many museums offer interesting workshops, classes and lectures. Even the humble tour can provide you with a mountain of information. Take, for example, The Louvre. It offers tours by national museum lecturers every day. They can be general introductions or themed tours and are for the novice and enthusiast alike. If you are short of inspiration this is a wonderful way to get your spark back.

Stephanie Baudet, one of our Writing For Children tutors, is venturing into the realm of adult fiction. Her first published novel – ‘A Measure of The Soul’ – is a story of intrigue and blackmail. More details can be found here.

And just to see you through those sticky moments when you think it’s all not worth it, read this wonderfully uplifting quote and get on with writing your future – literally and metaphorically!

"If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.”

Mark Houlahan

Have a productive month!

Shelley x

P.S Don’t forget to enter our 21st Birthday Headline Competition to be in with a chance of winning The Complete Copywriter Course!