I recently co-taught a workshop called "Finish That Book: Passion and Productivity for Writers," in which we proposed a structured way to find and utilize spare time in your day for the writing process.
I've had to re-think that based on something my friend Mysti Berry said yesterday. She's taken up writing before work, a time-tested practice of novelists with day jobs. But Mysti's closing in on wrapping up the first draft and she had this to say:
"It's so much easier to write every day than to TORTURE myself about not writing."
I think that pretty much summarizes the best way to get the job done: Make the alternatives so unappealing that writing becomes the least of all evils.
If you have to choose between writing and heating up the leftover lasagna and getting a pedicure, well, it's pretty clear what's going to win.
But how about if your to-do list includes: clean grime from sliding door tracks, update insurance paperwork, and return passive-aggressive relative's phone call?
Hmmm, then the writing becomes several factors more appealing.
And it works best of all if you are a guilt-driven person as I, and apparently Mysti, are. Self-torment of the "you suck, you didn't get the job done" variety is always worse than just writing the f'ing words.