How to keep your mind on writing.
Read more. Words are the food of lively writing. Read everything you can get your hands on. Be greedy, but not picky. You never know what will flavor the meal you ultimately cook.
Think less. The kind of writing you want to do does not come from contemplation or analysis, not from self-judgment or second-guessing. It comes by itself when you stare blank-headed at a blank page.
Practice. Writing is a job. Writing is a discipline. A famous author once said that discipline in a writer was overrated. That’s clever, but wrong. Overrating is overrated. Without stopping to judge, just keep going. Everything done well takes practice.
Have no goal. Other than to write. Examine your motivations and be clear. There are easier ways to become famous. Sing, dance, run for high office, make a sex tape. If your goal is to become rich, I have no career advice for you.
Use a net. A butterfly net. Words and phrases will alight in their own time and place, and not always on a keyboard. Keep a pen handy. Journal. Jot in the fog of a mirror or shower door. Catch what comes.
Write for yourself. Write to yourself. Writing for others, to satisfy other people’s opinions and expectations for your writing, is folly. No one is as interested in your work as you are. You are already your worst critic. Now be your number one fan.
Know the reader. Approach your reader with fearlessness. Be honest. Be open. Say everything. Say anything. (Hint: the reader is you.)
Don’t know the reader. The world is vast and wide and does not fit on a Facebook page or Twitter list. Your true reader, like your true friends and fans and followers, is in the real world beyond social media. Let this comfort you, and redirect you to your real work.
Do not confuse talking for writing. Writing about how to write is a waste of time for you and everyone who reads it.
Go back to it. There are no tips for writing, only tips to avoid writing. I apologize.