Ten Ways Not to Sabotage Your Writing Time
Calm: The best mood to be in when you do any work is calm and focused, so get yourself to that state before you begin work. I do this daily with morning meditations, and I also have a mental ritual I do before every writing session to dispense with distracting feelings. Think of it as clocking in to your writing job.
Check Weather: If you live in an area like I do with unruly weather, check the daily forecast. I use Weather.com to look at the radar map and see if there's any time I might have to stop writing due to thunderstorms.
Clear Out the Cobwebs: If you're thinking about something else while you're writing, you're fighting a mental war on two fronts. End the battle by clearing your mind of everything except what serves your story. I do this by journaling, so I can get all those other, non-writing thoughts out of my head before I begin work.
Comfortable Outfit: I am amazed at all these writers who say they work in three-piece suits, full make-up, etc. If that works for you okay, but personally I work better when I'm dressed comfortably. My standard writing uniform is a large T-shirt, leggings, and soft socks. I put my hair up to keep it out of my face. Occasionally I wear some of my old scrubs, too.
Electronics Off: If you can't stay off your smart phone, shut it off and put it out of reach. Same goes for the television, stereo, e-book reader, video games and any other distracting electronic device. This is your work time; use only the computer on which you're writing (exception: if listening to music helps you write better, turn on the stereo -- but try to keep it low.) Also, stay off the internet.
Goal Set: Have a clear idea of your writing goal for the day. You can go with a wordcount or number of pages. Time also works -- such as committing to writing for two hours (and take breaks!)
Healthy Snack: Working while you're hungry can be distracting and make you cranky, so have a light, healthy snack. A banana or an apple always does the trick for me.
Hydrate: One of the healthy habits I've gotten into is drinking a glass of water before I start writing. There are two reasons for this -- it keeps me from wanting to make some hot tea while I write (making it is the distraction), and it forces me to get up and take a bathroom break after about an hour.
Physical Therapy: Limbering up before you sit down at the computer can make you feel better, increase blood flow and help your overall health. I do my stretches, which are simplified yoga moves, for a few minutes before I begin writing. I also do stretches on my writing breaks. For those of you who are in better shape, here's a ten minute workout for desk workers.
Save Everything: Before you start writing, back up your previous work on a memory stick or other autonomous spot. Also make a mental note to continue to save your work at the bottom of every new page you write. It's a good habit to get into, and if anything goes wrong during your writing session, you won't lose anything.