1. I found a day job that respects my boundaries.
I am a full-time English teacher. Any teacher knows that this is a job that can take over a life. The best thing I ever did for my writing is find a school community that allows me to enjoy the ever elusive work/life balance.
2. Stop doing hobbies.
Here is a list of hobbies I had before I finally focused on writing for good: beading, jewelry making, knitting, gluing sticks onto glass jars to make votives, making books (not writing them), gluing pictures onto notebooks and giving them to my friends, baking, drawing, painting, acting, singing, triathlons, graduate school, and making designs with woodburning pens.
I used to go to a lot of trouble to not start writing. Now I just start writing, and leave the stick-gluing and triathlons to others.
Reading makes me want to write. Bad writing makes me want to throw the book against the wall and write something infinitely better. Good writing makes me want to throw myself against the wall and write something anyway.
4. Restrict my budget.
When I can’t really afford shopping, movies, Caribbean cruises, airplane tickets, restaurant meals, massages, roller skates, wine-tasting, skiing, the spa, miniature golf, bowling, a tour of Alcatraz, the circus, Disneyland, a motorcycle, or tickets to the game, the opera, the ballet, or the musical, I might as well write.
5. Avoid television.
I binge watch, I’m not going to lie. But only two shows. Whenever someone tells me I should watch the latest show I always nod and smile and secretly think to myself, JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS because that is what television is to me. A drug. And I must say no.