When Katy from The Non-Consumer Advocate announced that one of her 2014 goals was writing a book, I sent her some advice. (I try to give out unsolicited advice at least once a day. I'm convinced that the world will stop spinning if I don't!)
Since November is National Novel Writing Month, I present to you, dear readers, the advice I had passed on to her. (And now that takes care of handing out unsolicited advice for today....)
As a teacher, writer, and editor (and someone who has finished a book-length manuscript--a dissertation), here's some of what I learned the hard way:
--Make a regular commitment of either time or pages. This needs to be unbreakable except for disasters and emergencies. So "I will do X pages a day (or a week)" Or "I will work on the book every Tuesday morning from 6-7 am" or whatever.
-- Keep a log of how often you write... date: start time/stop time.
-- Make a list of why you are writing the book and keep it handy.
-- Remember that words on a page can be edited and revised, i.e. fixed. A blank page isn't going anywhere. So lousy writing is better than no writing.
-- Keep a list of book-related mundane tasks for when you don't feel like writing, such as tracking down sources or proofreading. That way you can keep working even when the Muse has left you to go lie on a beach somewhere in Greece.
-- Don't fret about how slowly the first chapters go. The ones that follow will come faster.
Hope this helps any aspiring writings out there!