Set writing goals
A good habit to get into is to set writing goals for yourself, daily and weekly. Any published writer you speak with will tell you that they have writing goals; some go by word count, others by page count. And they stick with it until they reach that goal. Some days it’s a matter of a few hours at the computer, other days it’s a more arduous journey, but by meeting their daily and weekly quotas, they keep moving ahead and making progress.
Some suggestions. Most writers go by word count. Some of the more realistic numbers I’ve heard are full-time authors shooting for 2,000-3,000 words day and part-time authors (those of us that have full-time jobs outside of writing) strive for 500-1,000 words a day (if I’m on a roll, I can do it in about an hour). When I’m working on a manuscript, whether it be a full-length novel or a short story, my goal is 1,000 words a day. I try to concentrate more on the weekly total, though (7,000 words/week) because one never knows what’s going to come up and take away writing time in any particular day. Sometimes work will interfere or family time or church obligations. And don’t worry about the quality of the writing. This is the first draft you’re working on, there will be plenty of time to go back and revise and rewrite.
If I use the daily goal as a guideline and the weekly goal as the standard, I know if I fall short one day I can make it up on another day. But setting the goals keeps me focused and motivated, gives me something to shoot for, and lets me feel okay about stopping.
Also, when I’m not writing I’m always thinking about what’s coming next in the story, how I’m going to write it, from who’s point of view, what the setting is going to be like. That way, when I sit down at the computer I have a skeleton to work from and I’m not going at it cold.
Try it. Set yourself a writing goal and strive to meet it each day and week. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast those words add up and before you know it, you’ll have your story complete and ready for revising.