I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the most important thing I can bring to the table in this writing adventure of mine is attitude.
Up until the last couple of years, I never really had any sort of plan regarding the writing. I wrote when I felt like it (which meant when I had an idea that was burning to get out), and if I didn't feel like it, I didn't write. So stuff got done, but in spurts. I'd draft a novel in a string of frenzied, dawn-to-midnight obsessive work sessions, and then it would languish in a drawer, because once the first draft magic was done, where was the fun? Or I'd start a first draft, full of fire and energy, and then I'd realize that my characters were up a tree surrounded by alligators, and I had no idea how to get them out, so I'd let it slide because it was too hard to sit down and figure it out.
In a nutshell, when the going got tough, the tough slunk off to find something else to do.
Since making the commitment to myself to look at this writing thing as a job instead of a hobby, I find that my attitude has changed in ways that are making me a lot more productive, and it doesn't seem like the quality of my work is suffering.
Now I'm writing regularly and I'm consistently producing 1000 to 2000 words a day. Stuff is getting done, and it's getting done because I'm sitting down every day and doing it. When I get my characters up a tree, instead of giving up on them, I write it out—I grab a notebook and start brainstorming possible solutions. And what's interesting is that a solution does come, sometimes fairly quickly, sometimes after a good night's sleep, but I'm finding that if I stick with the story, things seem to have a way of working out.
The other thing I've noticed now that I'm writing every day whether I feel like it or not is that I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference in the quality of the work, whether I slog through 500 words that I really don't feel like doing, or breeze through 3000 words and feel like I could keep going all night.
So, yeah. Attitude.
Wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure that out.