Whenever I given a presentation during a book signing and opened it up to questions, this is typically among one of the questions asked each time: how do I write? Or, probably more succinctly, what have I found as the most productive way to do it.
I always say that every writer is different and what works for me may not work for you.
However, in putting together three thrillers and working on a fourth now (finally), this while continuing to work a full-time job as a public relations consultant, just some observations on what I've learned through the experience.
Devoting A Block of Time: Since I don't have the opportunity to work on my books every day (which would be my preference, I pick a day or two each week and block out four-to-five hours to devote solely to whatever writing project is under way. I turn off the email, silence the phone and just work steady -- with a goal to produce at least one chapter during that time. If not, so be it.
Also, I pick a block of time in the early morning so I'm done before noon -- since I've found I'm fresher in the morning...unless the previous night was a 'party night' (then, maybe I move my block to another day).
Researching as I Write: In writing my first thriller, Second Strike, I did not do this: I instead followed my chapter outline to get to the end of the book, then did research on the second edit. Big mistake. The research took me in several other, better directions -- and totally screwed up the linear aspect of the first draft. Thus, it took me twice as long to write the book when incorporating those changes. From then on, I stopped when research was required and did it right then and there when it came up in the progression of the novel. It also made the second edit much easier, allowing me to focus on grammar, pacing, continuity and character development before moving on to the third, fourth or fifth edits (if needed).
There are more tips I'll share later, and hopefully they'll help you in your writing experience, but these have helped me quite a bit in becoming more productive with my storytelling.