1. Get some sleep. It really helps to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends, to make it easier to fall asleep and get out of bed on time.
2. Drink water. You can’t write well when you’re dehydrated!
3. Don’t jump straight into writing. It’s tempting, but it’s work — let yourself wake up a little first. Give yourself some time to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
4. Do something early on in the day that stimulates your brain but isn’t work. Reading a book, journaling, having some coffee — NOT CHECKING YOUR EMAIL!
5. Set two writing goals for yourself tomorrow: a high goal and a low goal. If you clear the low goal, but can’t push yourself to reach the high goal, at least you’ll still have accomplished something.
6. Figure out when you’re most — and least — productive, writing-wise. If you’re most productive at 3 a.m., let yourself write at 3 a.m. If you can’t write after 5 p.m., don’t force yourself to, at least not consistently.
7. Establish a “distraction-free” zone within your writing space.
8. Also create a writing space separate from your play/social time space. E.g., don’t write in your bedroom like I did for about 15 years (oops).
9. Get up and walk around every once in awhile. It’ll help you think, and it’s good for your health.
10. If you’re too tired to write tonight, don’t. But don’t let that be your excuse for more than 2 days in a row. Don’t make it a habit.
11. If you don’t meet your writing goals today, don’t worry — it happens. But try again the next day. Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Tomorrow is a new day.
12. Write stuff that makes you happy or inspires you to make a difference.
13. Write stuff that challenges you, your beliefs, and your ambitions.
14. Connect with other people. Writers and non-writers. Humans need other humans to be happy.
15. Take breaks. Writers don’t write all the time.
16. Say nice things about yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes are good. They mean you’re learning.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.