I am a member of one writing group and one critique group.
Apparently, this is a little weird, but at my writing group we write. The goal is to get together, encourage each other, work through writing problems together, and write together. We accomplish this by sprinting; we do 20 minutes of writing, and then 20 minutes of talking, in a cycle the whole time we are together.
My critique group is particularly active during on months and particularly ignored during off months. All of the members participate in NaNoWriMo and the associated Camps. Three of the four members also participate in JuNoWriMo. An unofficial offshoot of NaNoWriMo that happens in June. During the month NaNo or Camp is happening we take a break while the members write like crazy. Once the month is over we start back up with our agreed upon submission of ~5k words per week from each member.
As someone who is working towards a full-time professional writing career both of these groups are important. The writing group was a great group to start with, getting to know others in the area who enjoy writing as much as I do and GET the same problems that I talk about. My significant other listens when I talk about my latest writer's block or character motivation problem, but he doesn't write, and can only understand so much. The emotional support of the writers group is amazing, and useful, and real.
The critique group is great for turn around and developing a critical eye. Having a weekly deadline to edit 5k words has been one of the best things I have ever done to improve my writing turn around. Reviewing three pieces of ~5k each week has done wonders for realizing what I can do to improve my own writing. Then there's the actual feedback I receive on my pieces which have been amazing at bringing the pieces up another three levels.
One of the best things I can recommend for a growing writer is finding and participating in both a writing and critique group. They can help bring any writer to the next level.
Sitting down to actually write is sometimes the hardest part of the process. Through more trial and error than I would have liked I have found three ways to get around it, and one that I have yet to try.
The method I use the most is the twenty minute sprint. Sit down, set a timer for twenty minutes, start the timer, and write. Don't stop for food, water, Facebook, or research. If something needs to get added later then put it in caps. The first draft of my novel is full of LOOK UP PURPLE PLANT NAME or WHAT COLOR WAS HIS EYES ANYWAYS notes. After the timer goes off set it again, this time, twenty minutes of anything that isn't writing! Some of my writer friends use the time to fill in the capitalized words and research that needs to get done. I will usually watch part of a TV show, read a book, or get up and do some housework. When the timer goes off its time for another twenty minutes of writing. Keep going until the whole novel is done!
The second option is to write at the same time every day. For some it's in the morning with their cup of coffee, for others, it's right after a trip to the gym. Some are only able to find the time to write during their lunch break, and they often make excellent use of that time. Using the same time every day makes the brain anticipate the time. It'll have the story planned to write because it knows that time is coming. There also seems to be less resistance to the idea of writing. Even if there is some writer's block, it's still time to write something, and the brain will fill it in.
Another option is to tie one's writing to an item, food, or drink. If you only write when having a cup of coffee, tea, while eating a banana, or wearing a purple hat your brain will notice and respond by making the writing easier every time to you use the trick. There is a load of scientific research on this, and it sounds silly, but it totally works.
The last one is often talked about by big name writers who have a lot more time than I do to write every day. They sit down and they don't get up until their goal for the day has been completed. Usually, that goal is nice and high, close to the 2000 word mark.
Until I am a full-time writer I won't be using the last trick myself. The first three I use as much as possible to get words on the page, and they definitely help!
As a writer, I spin tales to take the reader away from everyday life, if only for a few hours. However, becoming a published author and reaching readers is a struggle. Writers sit in front of laptops and tap away in hopes of creating the next great American novel. But what happens after the manuscript is written and edited?
It was a dilemma for a few of my fellow writers and me. One Sunday night at Denny’s we pondered the question. Sending query letters to publishers is nerve wrecking. It takes the stars to be aligned just right to connect and get a contract.
We knew there had to be another solution. Yes, self-publishing on Amazon is an option, but the writers at the Sunday Night Write In knew there had to be other alternatives. So in January, the idea of starting a publishing company for authors in the 518 was spawned.
The 518 Publishing Company, LLC has been created to help writers in the 518 to publication. We will make it happen.