Sometimes work, life, and everything else gets the better of me...and my writing. Sometimes I can't write as often as I'd like, due to time constraints, sleepiness due to busy days, etc. But in order to progress as a writer even when I'm not diligently writing chapters every day, I have a list of "writer stuff" that I do regularly in order to keep the creative part of my brain sharp, primed, and ready to write as soon as I'm able to...
- Write notes. I have an electronic file of notes as well as a pink basket that I throw scrawled-upon scraps of paper and napkins into. (I really love writing on napkins with ballpoint pen. I have no idea why.)
- Read good books. Choose books that get you going--as in, inspire you, have a similar style to yours, make you think, etc. Just take in how other published stuff is written. You can't be a good writer if you're not a good reader.
- Read writer stuff. Find and read books, blogs, magazines, etc that deal with the writing process. I made a Writing group in my Google Reader so I can keep up with all the writing blogs I find informative. I subscribe to Writer's Digest. I scour Amazon for helpful books on both writing and promoting books/promoting yourself as an author. I also find articles about some of my favorite authors and read about their inspiration, writing process, etc.
- Find inspiration. It doesn't have to be directly related to writing. There's nothing writing-related about Muse's The 2nd Law or Metric's Synthetica, but they get me in a writing state of mind by making me feel something--I don't even know how to describe the feeling. It's like I'm on edge and more emotional. My writing is better because of these influences. I've also been reading a bunch of interviews with Project Runway's most recent winner, Dmitry. In these interviews, he talks about having a dream and--after putting in a ton of hard work; staying calm, focused, and dedicated; and having a ton of passion for his work--he's done something huge that brings him one big step closer to accomplishing his dream. Seeing people I admire succeed in their dreams inspires me to put in the hard work that I need to succeed in mine.
- Stare at the wall. I do a lot of this. It's a benign thing to do when I'm mulling over story ideas. Hey, at least I don't stare at people--that would start to freak people out. Especially if they were to find out I'm writing about an assassin.
- "What would Emerson do?" I play this game a lot, especially when faced with situations I don't like. I use it as inspiration--I figure out what Emerson would do. I don't often do what Emerson would do, since she is an assassin and a liar, and I am not. But I like thinking of how she'd handle situations--it's a good exercise that can also conjure up ideas for future chapters and storylines.
- Interact with other writers. By far, this is the thing I'm the shittiest at. I'm only semi-social, and I need to be in the right frame of mind to be social (I'm definitely an introvert!). But this is a goal of mine, this networking thing, and I'm publicly vowing to become better at it! :)