My critique group, The Goalies, whom I've had the pleasure to meet with for the last eight years, has an expression which sums up the best way to be a writer: Butt in the Chair. If you don't sit down and start to write, your book will not write itself. As a writer, you will have many days when you just don't have a thought about writing. You get stuck on a plot or character and can't for the life of you think of the next chapter or even sentence in your masterpiece.
The problem is that is you don't break the stagnation, it will continue to grow and have babies. I have a problem with this, primarily because I also have the problem of starting too many projects at once and then once or more of them has to sit for a while before I get back to it.
My goal this summer is to finish editing (is that possible?) Zeylandicus, which is essentially a finished novel. I've given myself a deadline of June 30th to get it into an acceptable shape to submit to an editor/publisher/agent/anyone willing to read it. The goalies have been reviewing a chapter at a time, but in the meantime, I think after several years, I'm ready to be able to say another project is complete.
I've started scheduling myself between writing, weaving, scrapbooking and spending time with Henry now that we're both off for the summer. Today, I had told myself that I would write. I edited two chapters and felt so good about it that I returned to the computer to finish a third after lunch. At this rate, I should meet my deadline.
My Goalie friends will often send an email to let the others know that they are writing. We can get a virtual writing group going on at times with several of us writing in the privacy and quiet of our own homes, but knowing that our friends are out there and that they have our support. I apologize to my critique buddies today for not sending an email. I got so into the story that I forgot until after lunch. I guess that's a good sign, though.
As my husband is also a writer, we have tried to work out times when we're both writing. That helps keep the other person aware and lets us know not to turn on loud music or the tv, or walk into the room where the other is working, breaking a thought and momentum.
Writing doesn't have to be a lonely profession. You don't need others around you to write; in fact, it's better for most of us not to have disturbances. But, it's also nice to have support from others, like a cheering section, encouraging us in our endeavors and being willing to share ideas if asked. I haven't proposed this idea of the "tomatoes" yet to them.
The Goalies introduced me to http://mytomatoes.com/. This website includes a built-in pomodoro kitchen timer that goes for 25 minutes. You set the timer, work for 25 minutes or until the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, then start again. You can record what you wrote about on your break.
A last thought is http://www.nanowrimo.org/. The website is having July camp this year. You can join and challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in one month, as they do each year in November. I've tried this, but teaching in November usually presents too much of an interference. Maybe this year... I will definitely try in July. I could always take a piece that is barely started and add 50,000 words to it.
So, what method will you use to get your "butt in the chair" this summer? Do you have another idea of system to share?