Well, I don't really have any news today, but I do have a fantastic tip. That tip is Be Consistent!
"Consistent?" you ask. "Whatever can she mean?" Well, here's what I mean: if you want to be a serious writer, you MUST write every day--or very nearly every day. You must write when you don't have the time; you must write when you don't feel like it; you must write come rain or shine. It is a habit you MUST acquire in order to get good and in order to create enough "good" material to compile an entire book...in less than ten years. :) Those are the facts.
So how does one do this? Well, if you're not a natural at writing every day, there is hope; you can train yourself to do it. Here's how:
Preferably, it's best to schedule your writing time at the same time every day. This requires paying attention to your daily routine and your energy/mental alertness levels to see when setting aside regular writing time would be most beneficial for you and your particular life situation. You can train yourself to be an effective writer at any time of the day if you're determined enough.
When I started writing, the only time I had to do it was during my son's nap time. For a new mom, this was the perfect time for me to do a million different things I'd wanted to do all day, namely take a nap of my own. But, no matter what else was calling to me, during those precious few hours, I forced myself to sit at the computer and write until it became second nature.
For the last two years, however, my writing time window has changed from anywhere between 6-10 now that my son is too old for naps, because that's when my husband is home. So, you see, you can also re-train yourself to write at a different time if you need to. Once you've done it long enough, your brain just sort of automatically clicks into writing mode, and you can sit down and write on demand. This is a very necessary skill when you're trying to meet a deadline.
If you're brand new to writing and aren't really ready to work on a project yet, start setting aside your writing time by taking baby steps. Try keeping a journal every day at the same time. Write for at least fifteen minutes at first--this writing can be stream of consciousness or anything in the world you want to write about--just write! No one is going to read it, so don't worry about grammar of anything else.
Eventually, you'll find yourself getting carried away into an hour or two of writing time, and hopefully, it will be because you've discovered a story you're really passionate about. When that happens, you can take your mass of acquired writing time and start using it more strategically to create something really exciting, like a book!
Just remember, like anything in life, writing a book must be taken one day at a time. But those days must first be consistently strung together with regular writing time.
For the writers out there, what's your favorite time of day to write? Has being more consistent in your writing habits made a significant change in the quality and quantity of your work?