1. Eliminate distractions. Best example of a distraction would be the internet. The spam emails are endless and the online newspaper that updates every few hours can eat away your time without you noticing. Goes without saying that when my internet was down for a week when the connection outside the house was broken, (likely by the miserable weather that comes with being a Canadian) I punched down several chapters to my novel.
2. Routine is everything. If you wake up, take your vitamins, pack some breakfast down, et cetera, writing should be in the list of your day somewhere, even if it’s only 5 minutes worth from having to drag your kids and/or dog to the other end of the city for a visit to grandma’s where the laptop has to stay home or die by bad city transit (don’t ask).
3. Watch your diet. Although it may not seem physically exhausting to sit, think and type, feeling like expired oil from your last fast food splurge will drag you down and shorten how much energy you can put into your work. Then there’s always the question of just what they fry all those tasty greasy munchies in to begin with… Cake being the exception.
4. Everyone has a Muse and every Muse must be fed. This includes Muse non-believers. To feed mine usually takes the perfect music for the mood, a coffee and if my mood is angry or upset enough to face-melt anyone who gets near me without life or death reasons, a large piece of chocolate cake. Or all of it. Headaches from too much sugar cure everything else.
5. Get a dog. Cats set bad examples, unless they’re gutless and demand breakfast every morning before the sun has reached your window, by standing on your face. Then after walking the dog in -40C windchill weather, chances are that you’re now awake enough to take on killing one of your best characters in your story. Provided your can thaw out your fingers before you lose the courage all over again… They serve as great Muses that aren’t invisible to your friends and family as well.
6. Have kids. Guaranteed to make you go from, “Oh I’ll do that after my nap…” to “OMG the baby is asleep! To the computer! WOOSH!”
7. Answer the Muse when it calls. Make it clear to your spouse that even if it’s in the middle of his rented movie of hockey superstars, you dated the Muse first and its priorities for your brainpower is second to no one.
8. Everyone has a way of writing that they enjoy best. My advice, use it. I never had the luxury of typing on a computer when I was younger, so my way became my messy printing in pencil (erasers are so underrated). To this day I have enough of such writings to fill half a drawer of a filing cabinet. Just be warned that if you choose this way, your work may at one point walk itself to the blue bin next time you holler at your kids to do the recycling…not good.
9. Work first, play later. Hide the video games from yourself (that includes World of Warcraft!) or if you just can’t part from the addiction, give your toons to a kid. I don’t care what generation you’re from, today’s 9 year-olds can make you look pretty sad of a gamer in a short period of time and your avatar will be happier in the latest, best-of-the-best armor and weapons. If that’s not enough, watching a 9 year-old totally pwn your bigger-than-avatar friends demands popcorn. Then mock your buddies for being such a phail for like…forever…after you’ve finished your writing and amassed yourself to something more beyond being a computer drone.
10. Keep a blog. Great way to kick start the writing out of your Muse and more beneficial than reading the depressing latest news of murders and Swine Flu epidemics. Imo you can’t define an epidemic till your oldest comes back from daycare with a new flu for everyday of the week.