This whole novel-writing thing is surprisingly fun. I'd anticipated a lot more resistance and hand-wringing from myself, since that's my usual modus operandi. But, for whatever reason, it's been blessedly smooth sailing. I simply go out, (almost) every day, and lay down word after word with relative ease.
(Keep in mind, it might be stone-cold terrible. But I'll deal with that later.)
What’s my secret? Well, I highly doubt that I've been spontaneously cured of my writerly neuroses. But I've learned to circumvent them through self-trickery. Past strategies have included: leaving a chocolate bar on my writing desk, tying myself to my chair, and creating contests for myself. (A few years back, I was in desperate need of a new printer, so my boyfriend offered to go halfsies with me if I wrote every day for a month. I did it. And she’s a beaut!)
Here are the methods I've been using during my novel-writing process:
1) Lower the stakes. I start each writing session by writing a little note of encouragement at the top of the page (I'm writing the novel by hand). I remind myself of my intentions: This is just for fun. Quantity, not quality. Writing a terrible novel is better than writing no novel. I lower the stakes to zero, and try to forgive myself on the days when I'm feeling fidgety or uninspired.
2) Write every day. Writing every day helps me pick up where I left off. It cuts down almost entirely on the time I spend warming up. And by "warming up," I mean doodling, fretting, getting up for my nth cup of coffee, etc. I don't have to waste time re-acquainting myself with the characters because it's only been twenty-four hours or less since I last saw them.
3) Write for one hour. Whenever I feel myself balking, I say, "It’s just one hour. Write for one hour and there's still twenty-three left to watch horrible Lifetime movies on Hulu." It almost always works. I can do almost anything for an hour. And usually, I end up writing for longer.
What about you, writers? Any strategies for getting down to business?