Random tips, in no particular order:
1. Create a writing ritual. Mothers know how important it is to create a bedtime routine to help their children calm down and prepare to sleep. Likewise, a writing ritual can tell your muse it is time to write. A writing ritual could include lighting a candle, putting on some music, taking a few deep breaths, and repeating some affirmations.
2. Write a brief synopsis of your story from each character's point of view. Write as if your minor character is the main character of the story. This gives you a better idea of who all your characters are and what they want.
3. If you're struggling to deepen POV, write the scene in first-person first. Then change it to third-person, keeping much of the inner dialogue.
4. Delete every adjective and adverb in your novel. But make sure you save a copy first. This will force you to show instead of tell, and you will find out if your adjective is really necessary.
5. Pay attention to the lyrics of your favorite music. Lyrics are half-way between poetry and prose. Many songwriters find unique and descriptive ways to convey their meaning. It's a great way to understand metaphors.
6. Learn to write with distractions. Don't wait for the perfect circumstances to write. Smart parents know their new babies will learn to sleep even while the rest of the family goes about their business. Writers can train their muses to get to work in the same way.
7. But set boundaries. Don't answer the phone or check your e-mail. Have a code so your family knows not to interrupt if you're in the middle of an important scene, like raise your hand and have them sit and wait until you give them the go-ahead.
8. Write crap. Seriously, not every word has to be a masterpiece. Sometimes you just have to get a scene down on paper. Use place setters to keep it moving, like “neighbor girl, or “car” or “guard 1.” You can, should, and will go back and fix it later.
9. Experiment with your approach to writing. Like to write by the seat of your pants (aka “pantser”)? Try outlining your story. Love, love, love to outline? Run with it for a change and let your imagination go wherever it wants. You may discover that a combination of the two is right for you.
10. Do creative things that have nothing to do with writing. Cook, paint, sing, create something crafty. Knit, crochet, or sew something pretty. Press flowers, garden, create a collage.
What about you? What writing tips have been the most helpful to you?