Some of these are maxims that I've tried to follow, but recently I had to throw them overboard because I wasn't getting any writing done.
1. Maxim: Write every day and get the words down. You can always edit them later.
Did it work? Sort of. I tried the Seinfeld chain, Pomodoro, and everything else that could make me write. I did write, and occasionally my brain even engaged. But I've found that there was no depth to the writing and that I had to rewrite every word, sometimes many times, before the sense of thing would emerge. I was trying for quantity, when what I needed was quality.
Moral: Write in haste and edit at leisure.
2. Maxim: Try writing on a bare screen (like 750words.com, notes in Evernote, etc.) and you'll have more ideas without the distractions of the other text.
Did it work? For some things, yes. But I wound up with a lot of disconnected passages that I had to rewrite, and I lost the sense of the manuscript as a whole. I was writing generalizations, not arguments.
Moral: That manuscript is not going away. Sooner or later you're going to have to look at it, so you might as well face it.
3. Maxim: Stop for the day when you know what you'll write the next day (the Hemingway technique). In this way you'll always have something to start with the next morning.
Did it work? Of all these techniques, this is the one that went the most disastrously wrong. Several days ago I stayed up writing and wrote down all the things I needed to do next, convinced I would get up and get at it the next morning. Need I tell you that I did not do this and that I couldn't face the writing for five days after that? And that the ideas that were once so fresh are now something I need to go back and reconstruct?
Moral: If you feel like writing, keep doing it. You can always sleep, but you can't always write.
4. Writing is a job, just like grading papers and prepping for class. Give yourself a couple of hours (or 20 minutes, or half an hour) each day and then quit.
Did it work? I said this to myself this morning in my best Boice/Silva vein, and I just didn't want to stop. My students aren't getting their papers back tomorrow, either.
Moral: Writing is exciting. It's discovery. If you're feeling that way about writing, the other stuff will get done in its own time.