It's back to school time, that time when most parents rejoice and most kids view with dread. Even if you don't have children, you once were a kid yourself. Everyone knows the excitement and fear of starting a new school year. Those experiences weren't wasted while you were young, though. You can take lessons from your younger self and apply them to the author in you.
Preparation Makes Work Easier
Remember getting a backpack full of school supplies? You homework almost did itself, it was such a pleasure using those new tools. You were prepared for anything, and just glided through the work as if it was nothing. Preparing for your writing uses that same concept. If you are a pantser, try outlining your next book. If you normally plot out your book, make it a more detailed process. If you can sit down every single day and know exactly what you're going to write, your outline has enough detail.
Using Old Information is Smart
Studies have shown that most younger kids lose about a third of their learning over summer vacation. Parents who spend even an hour a day doing academic work with their children give them an enormous advantage in the new school year. The old information you learned when writing your last book isn't a wasted effort. Find a way to incorporate it into future works. If you set a novel in an unusual town or country and you had to research the area, write a series using that setting. Turn your non-fiction book into part of a set that answers multiple questions in your niche. Tie another book to your first one and you'll cut down on research time.
The Popular Kids Aren't the Best Examples
To be fair, this isn't a lesson that most people believe until years after high school, but it's true nonetheless. Those who burn bright in the beginning often get duller earlier. The same goes for authors. There may be stars in your genre, but they're probably not the example you want to follow. Most likely there's a reason they get so many sales, and you won't be able to duplicate it. Instead, do what the solid mid-listers do. These authors aren't household names, but some of them make very respectable money year after year, just by being consistent and writing to their audience.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
What your parents nagged about for years is really true: eating a healthy breakfast sets your day up for success. Many authors fall into that same trap, not taking care of themselves and running on fumes. Eat healthy food, not junk. Get up off your chair once each hour and move for a few minutes. Get at least six hours of sleep each night. Your body's a machine, and if you don't take care of it it won't produce the words.
Fresh Starts are Opportunities for Change
Everyone used to start the school year vowing to be more popular, better at sports, finish all their homework, something. The beauty of the fresh start is that you can focus your energy on improving one aspect of your life. The same goes with writing books. Each new title is a chance for you to get better somehow. Add more realistic dialog. Make your characters more likeable. Break your non-fiction topic into even smaller chapters. Start fresh with each new book and your quality will always improve.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!