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Bec Evans is co-founder of Prolifiko and author of How to Have a Happy Hustle. She has spent her life writing and working with writers - from her first job in a bookshop, to a career in publishing, and she now coaches, supports and inspires writers of all kinds.

Writers love to share the backstory of their book: where, when and how they were struck by a spark of inspiration. Bec recently returned to the exact spot where she had her lightbulb moment, a puzzle that led to an obsession with writing productivity,

My lightbulb moment arrived at Lumb Bank, the Ted Hughes Arvon Centre for writing, the site of many creative inspirations. I recently delivered a guest reading there from our book Written. However, rather than talk about life-changing breakthrough I told the audience about a block.

Back in 2010 I landed my dream job as a centre director running a writing centre in my home town of Hebden Bridge. I’d started my career many years before, working on the shop floor of a high street bookshop, moving into publishing as an editor, then managing teams of writers in broader communication roles.

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Everything I needed to write?

I was a keen short-story writer, part of an engaged and supportive writing group, and getting positive feedback on my initial story submissions. I had high hopes for my new job, seeing it as the break I needed: the job would give me inspiration, a network, connections, everything I needed to make it as a writer.

Instead, I stopped writing.

In theory I had everything needed for creative success – I was ambitious, motivated and surrounded by the best writers of a generation. But rather than supercharge my creativity I was stuck, blocked and unable to find the time, energy or ideas to write.

The puzzle of the perfect writing environment

I became fascinated by the difference between my own failed attempts and those who achieved success with their writing. What were the tutors and guest readers doing right? And what was I doing wrong? How did they keep going when I had stalled? Was it innate talent, innovative ideas, feats of willpower and persistence, or the perfect writing routine?

I researched people’s writing habits. I went deep into academic papers on the psychology of creative practice and persistence. I spoke to aspiring and successful writers about how they got the writing done and what stops them. In hindsight it looks like an epic exercise in procrastination, but it was a spark of curiosity that took my writing in a completely different direction.

I started a blog about adventures in writing habits. I interviewed writers, shared stories and research, and passed on practical tips on things to try. My obsession with creative persistence spread to my husband Chris and after a decade led to us co-writing Written: How to Keep Writing and Build a Habit That Lasts.

Bec Evans at Arvon Lumb Bank
Bec at Lumb Bank Writing Centre in 2010

Your writing superpower

One simple idea drives our work: noticing how you write and taking a more mindful experimental approach is the most powerful thing you can do to gain a happier, healthier and more productive relationship with writing.

Since 2010 I have learnt a lot about my own writing. I have tried lots of different approaches and found a system that works for me. That system has, of course, changed over time as my life changed, it’s also different depending on what I’m writing and where I am in the writing process. I figured out what I need to keep going and along the way Chris and I have helped countless others do the same.

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Productivity is personal

Chris and I did a Zoom Q&A on Tuesday 21 February. I spoke about Lumb Bank and the spark of inspiration that led to my obsession with writing productivity. I explained why productivity is personal and together we answered questions and shared tips on how to find a writing habit that’s personal to you and your life.

You can watch the replay on YouTube. This post is based on our newsletter, Breakthroughs and Blocks which is on Substack. Read the original and sign up to get in your inbox each week.