(This one got forgotten by accident because I’m terrible about simply remembering things)
The first step in my process is to be comfy. Not fall-asleep comfy, but the type of comfy that won’t leave me stiff and unable to move when I’m all done. Sometimes that means I sit at the kitchen table, other times at my actual writing desk, and still others I am curled up in as little space as possible with my phone and some quick thumbs. Being comfortable minimizes the distractions around me, especially on days when focus is hard to come by.
Next, I decide if I’m gonna play music; usually the first couple of songs tell me whether or not I’m in a writing-with-music sort of mood.
I try to set a small goal to write every day so I don’t get into a daunting task (getting in this habit makes something like NaNoWriMo much easier to do, when you choose to take the challenge; you’re already used to having a goal number every day). I look at my goal, usually 200 to 500 words, and because it is manageable, some fretting goes away. “It’s only 500 words! That’s easy!” Sometimes, I end up with a lot more because I don’t go into it dreading how huge my goal is.
Stare at an open document for at least thirty seconds before you decide you don’t want to write for that story. Give it time to appeal, and if not, it’s okay. Pick a different one. If you’re like me, you have a hundred other story ideas waiting for you to poke at them.
Once a story is picked, I usually read through the last few paragraphs or maybe a chapter (not the whole story. This is a Trap). Then, with the mood set and my comfy chair chosen, I can actually make words to add to the story.
There are some purists who say never to edit a single thing until the story is all done but like. How many stories get left behind in the dust? Sometimes, those stories can be revitalized and our love for them rekindled if we just go back and spruce up older chapters, and that’s okay. So if you are doing the step of reading the last few bits of your story and you just have to change something, do the thing. Trust your instinct when it comes to your story, because really if someone else could tell it better than you, they would be doing it already.
Have fun. You’ve got this.