I generally don't set writing goals for myself. If I say I want to write 1000 words a day (which I consider pretty good for myself and the way I write), I'll just get more frustrated if I don't hit that mark. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times when I think, "Hey, I really want to finish this chapter today!" Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't. I'm not saying that setting goals is a bad thing, either. I just don't want the added pressure.
When it comes down to it, the reasons for not writing and/or hitting those goals doesn't matter. Sometimes I get on a really good writing kick and then I realize it's late o'clock and the husband wants to go to bed and I have responsibilities in the morning as well. Other times, I'm just feeling uncreative and unmotivated and I've spent the day zoned out to video games.
There are days when just opening up the Word document to start writing feels like an epic battle. Worse is when it's open and staring at you and NOTHING is coming to mind. (Which begs the question: why can't all of those brilliant ideas that keep me awake at night come to me when I actually have time to write them down?)
One technique that works well for me (in certain situations and when I remember to do it) is to not finish the thought or idea I've been working on before I call it quits for that particular session. It doesn't have to be a major cliffhanger every single time. But if I leave it unfinished, then I'll know exactly how to start up again when I come back to it, and then I've gotten myself into the writing routine with little difficulty.
Last night's example:
The door opened behind them. “I thought digging in the dirt was going to be my job today,” Callum said, chuckling. When he turned around, he saw Meyta had something in her hands.
Now, if you were reading this, I'm going to assume you wouldn't just stop there and put the book down. What's in her hands? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Is it worth millions of dollars or is it going to jump up and bite Callum in the face?
Again, not the most significant cliffhanger in the world. But I know what she's holding, even if I haven't written it down yet. So those are the last words I wrote last night, and as soon as I finish this blog post, I generally know what words are coming next. With luck, the words after that will come to me more easily.
(Have I done this before, opened the document the next day, and have zero idea what I was planning on doing next? Oh, I'm sure I have. Some cut-off ideas are more specific than others.)