1. Focus. Because there’s only so many hours, minutes, milliseconds. Pick the writing project (or three if you think like Jonathon Evison - one to write, one to edit, one to research) and do only that. Don’t learn the guitar right now. Don’t create a Baked Alaska or a Croquembouche. Leave the bins of jewelry facets in the closet. Put all of your creative energy into writing.
2. Don’t Focus. Creativity magnifies. So cultivate a new hobby. Learn a new language. Keep an art journal. Paint your clothing, your bedroom. Design art on your sidewalk with chalk. Push your brain to feel things afresh.
3. Show up. The worst novel is the one that isn’t written. Ass in the chair can’t be avoided. There is no other way. Sometimes, some stretches of time, you’ll show up 100%, others maybe 25%. What matters is the persistence.
4. Slack off. Working hard deserves its opposite. Give yourself a break. Go to the concert. Watch mindless television. Put the Adirondack chair to good use. Window shop all afternoon. Let your story work itself out in the background while you leisure.
5. Narrow your window. Read only quality fiction that will inspire your own. Jettison those news sites for a while. The country’s a mess anyway. Don’t open that cat video. No binge watching House of Cards. Find stories that are doing things you’d like to try in your own work. Or with voices that match the cadence or mood you’re trying to achieve. Make all media consumption work for your writing.
6. Get rid of the window. Absorb everything. Watch, read, listen to all of it. Foster your inner information junkie – take it in. You’ll never know where that link will take you. You may find a nugget that helps you change your character’s actions or impacts the backstory so much that it can only go forward altered. You may find something so totally unrelated that it can’t possibly make sense, but somehow you know it has to fit.