There really are no overnight successes. Authors who suddenly burst on the scene with a bestseller are usually people who have been writing day after day for years on end. Every one of them has developed consistent writing habits that ensure the words get on the screen each day without fail. Practice these ten habits to increase your productivity and you'll see your next book finished faster.
- Increase the time you spend writing gradually, but steadily. Start with a goal that feels comfortable, like 20 minutes a day. Add one percent every day to the total. Each day's increase will feel like nothing, but after three months you'll have doubled your output.
- Take care of your health. You can't write well if you aren't feeling well. Pay attention to important details like eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking enough water. It sounds trite, but you really will be more creative if you're healthy and energetic.
- Keep away from burnout. Writing every day is a solid goal, but you have to take a break once in a while. Schedule one day a week away from the keyboard and don't even think about your book until you come back the next day.
- Stay enthusiastic. Keeping your passion up will reflect in your writing. Make vision boards, play music that reflects your book's scenes or whatever keeps you excited about your story.
- Be accountable. Writing partners are invaluable assets. Find another author and promise each other you'll report your progress at the end of the day. You don't have to talk about your plot at all. Just the fact that you have to be accountable to someone can be enough to spur on your writing on blah days.
- Track your progress. Make a chart or find a tracking app online. Set up your writing goals and find a way to input your daily contributions. Watching the bar in a graph rise or the pen slide down the little bar can be very encouraging.
- Make a plan. This doesn't necessarily mean doing formal plotting, but know exactly where you're going to start and stop in the story each day. Write out a sentence or two about each day's work and stick with it. JK Rowling did this with her complicated Harry Potter novels and it kept her moving through seven elaborate stories.
- Use your down time. Everyone's day is filled with repetitive tasks such as peeling carrots or washing the car. Use this empty time to work out plot problems in your head and to plot small advances in the story. Keep your book present in your mind at all times.
- Create a writing space. Whether it's a writing shed in the back yard or a corner in the laundry room, you need a dedicated space that says "I"M WRITING" when you sit down. The best have doors you can use to shut out the outside world.
- Make a writing appointment, and keep it. Choose a designated time each day and write it on your calendar. Make it as unchangeable as going to work. You wouldn't skip the first hour of your job because you didn't feel like going that day. Don't allow yourself to skip your writing time, either.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!