Whether you go by page count or word count, set a goal and reward yourself when you get there. 5K words gets me a peppermint mocha. 10K gets me a pedicure. 50K...well, I don't get there very often, but a nice dinner seems reasonable, doesn't it? Whatever your prize (an episode of your favorite show, a really good piece of chocolate, a hot air balloon ride...), make it something that you wouldn't get or do for yourself on an every-day basis. It needs to be special.
2. Thinking ahead!
When I'm done writing for the day (my goal is generally 1000-1500 words), I leave myself a note for the next day. It might be a rough idea of what will happen in the next scene, or simply what I need the next scene to accomplish (e.g. get the MC from here to there, or put two characters in a conversation that reveals X). It might be the opening line of the next scene or chapter. It's not etched in stone, but it gives me something to think about between the end of one writing session and the beginning of another, and a place to start so I've got some momentum before I sit down in the chair.
3. Fast drafting!
|Yep, that's totally what I look like when I'm drafting. Especially the angry face.|
4. Setting the timer!
This is the method I've heard about but haven't yet tried for myself: The Pomodoro Technique. (If the name makes you hungry, that's because it's the Italian word for "tomato.") This method was created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, who had a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato. Hence the name. But any old timer will do. Set it for 25 minutes, work work work, and then take a 5 minute break. When you've completed 4 rounds (100 minutes of work, 15 minutes of time off), you take a 15-20 minute break. What I like about this is that it allows for our...I mean, my...compulsion to check social media, or eat cookies, or do jumping jacks, or whatever else one can do in 5 minutes. It also means that if you've only got an hour a day to work, you're still allowed to build in a bit of time off. Which can be its own reward.
I'd love to hear what practical strategies work for you to stay on track. Let us join forces and finish 2015 strong!