Well I took a leaf out of Ernest Hemingway's book and started my own private journal on my writing. In it I set out a long term plan for my writing along with some very clear goals. Things like join five forums, follow five blogs, have three followers by Easter. I haven't quite achieved all of these yet but I now have three followers - thanks :)
But the most important goal I set was to write at least 100 words everyday. I'm not the first author to have this type of goal - Stephen King writes 10 pages every day! My little 100 words doesn't look like much but I chose it for a reason. Like many aspiring writers I find my 'day job' incredibly consuming. Some days I know I will be struggling to get even 100 words done, but if I do it I'll be writing and achieving something. So far I have written more than 100 words most days, there were a couple of days I was unable to do any writing at all, but I think we have to accept that sometimes this will happen. I have completed the first chapter (5000 words) for one of my novels, so I feel like I have accomplished something. Last night I gave myself a pat on the back and a glass of champagne. Hope I don't go too crazy when I complete the thing!
One thing I have found quite inspiring to do, is to read what my favourite authors have to say about the process of writing. I'd recommend this. If you have a few minutes to spare, just google them and see if they have a web site or blog. Lots of them do, and lots of them have a section on writing.
Here's some pearls of wisdom from some of my favourite authors:
Katherine Kerr - Here's the secret of any writer's success: reading. What really counts is reading a large spread of different kinds of books -- from fantasy to ancient literature to modern experimental novels to the great classics from all around the world.
Ken Follett - As an aspiring writer, you should certainly start by writing an outline... You solve a lot of problems with an outline. It is far easier to correct your mistakes if you write an outline than if you sat down and wrote, 'Chapter One' at the top of a piece of paper and started writing.
Jean M. Auel - I write for myself ... I don't write for my publisher. I don't write for critics. I don't write for my fans. I know some fans would wish I would write for them, but I don't. It's my book. It's my story. It's my characters.
George R.R. Martin - Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you'll get. But don't write in my universe, or Tolkien's, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else's world is the lazy way out. If you don't exercise those "literary muscles," you'll never develop them.
Neil Gaiman - Use The Web. Use it for anything you can - writers groups, feedback, networking, finding out how things work, getting published. It exists: take advantage of it. Believe in yourself. Keep writing.
See what I mean? Aren't they useful tidbits? The trick of course is to keep yourself focused on your writing and not to get sidetracked reading the wonderful insights of others. I have sat down to write and two hours later found myself still reading the musings on various blogs and forums. But this is a good lesson too. I'm pretty good at tearing myself away now to write.
So off you go, stop reading this drivel and get into your bestseller ;)
I'll leave you with one more quote on writing, since I began with Hemingway why not finish with the Old Man himself?
There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.