1. Before you clock out of “work mode” at the end of your workday, set a goal for the next day’s writing session — “write for 30 minutes” or “write 1,00 words.” The specific goal is up to you.
2. Plan your writing time in advance and treat it like an appointment, with a time and location. “I’ll write tomorrow night” is a vague task very easily moved from one day to the next without any action.
3. Close yourself off from distractions. Believe it or not, you can survive 30 minutes or more without notifications and other disruptive alerts eating away at your writing time — especially if they’re preventing you from starting.
4. Start with a simpler writing task or a project that’s a little more informal, such as writing a page or two of something no one else is doing to see. It’s like a warm-up before a workout.
5. Give yourself a minimum productivity threshold. “I’ll write 500 words, then if I want to stop, I can.” About 80 percent of the time, you’ll want to keep going once you reach that minimum.
6. Promise yourself a small reward for completing your writing task for the day — something to look forward to once you’ve followed through on what needs to be done.
7. Save your favorite TV episodes and “movie-watching” for your days off. Let them all pile up while you focus on your writing, then reward yourself with a marathon.
8. Don’t go looking for inspiration or wait for it to find you. Sometimes the best way to “get inspired” is to start actively creating something — in this case, writing.
9. Keep in mind that the thing(s) you would rather be doing will feel mor enjoyable when you’re doing them as a reward, instead of doing them instead of what you were supposed to be doing first. :)
10. Review your “why.” You have a goal and a purpose in mind — it’s the reason you want and/or need to write. Speak it out loud. Remind yourself that it’s more important than what you’d rather be doing right now.
11. Take this one word at a time. Even on the days you’re struggling most, you will feel instantly more accomplished when you at least try to Make Words Happen.
12. Write even when you aren’t feeling motivated. Sometimes when you just start doing the thing you don’t feel like doing, you forget why you didn’t feel like doing it in the first place. Easier said than done? Maybe not.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.