1. A plan. Yes, writing can be spontaneous. But you need to have strategies in place for how you’re going to fit writing into your schedule before you begin.
2. A deadline. Some people don’t work great under pressure, and if so, maybe this won’t be your go-to strategy. But some people really need to know they’re working on a timeline, even if it’s a timeline they’ve created for themselves.
3. All the snacks. Seriously. Creativity requires fuel.
4. A goal. It doesn’t even have to be an ambitious goal. “Write five days in a row” is a great goal even if it’s a small one. Everyone has to start somewhere!
5. A positive attitude. Yes, it’s OK to struggle and yes, you’re going to have bad days. But constant negativity isn’t going to help you reach your goals, especially in the very beginning.
6. A reason to keep going when things get tough — because they will inevitably get tough. Every writer needs a “why,” an “excuse” to keep writing. What’s yours?
7. A support system. Sometimes that comes in the form of a writing group. Sometimes it’s a friend or family member. Sometimes it’s your dog.
8. A reward. How are you going to treat yourself when you reach your goal?
9. Discipline — or at the very least, an understanding that writing takes constant effort over a long period of time, which is possible to endure, just not always easy.
10. Hope. You might not finish the first project you start. You might not end up exactly where you want to be. But if you keep writing, you’ll end up somewhere great. Even if it takes a lifetime, you’ll get there. Don’t give up.
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.