I don't write every day.
There. I said it. I am a bad writer. Although I should probably clarify that statement. The current trend in advice to writers is to sit down and discipline yourself to write at least a thousand words every day. Which I do not do.
Oh, I write on a daily basis. Patient notes, reports, letters, emails to friends... But sitting at the keyboard and plunking out a new chapter in a story every day? Nuh-uh.
Is it a good discipline to develop? When every word should be a nugget of information, spewing tripe just to get a thousand words onto the page seems counterproductive. On the other hand, getting the garbage out may allow the brain clarity and a chance to tap straight into the good stuff. And to be honest, every writer can produce some real stinky stuff.
My methodology is to stew, ferment, and then gush. I think about a story a long time before I start to write. I read, research, read more, and then hike a local canyon with the characters in my mind. I consider scenarios, conversations, conflicts, and timelines. I've recently started writing the timeline first, in longhand to keep by my computer for easy reference.
Once my thoughts are filled with the characters and their situations, the words pour out. I find myself rushing to the keyboard and staying late, concentrating to the exclusion of nearly everything else, irritated and grouchy as hell when interrupted. Hence all the burnt dinners-- well, that and my diabolical plan to force someone to take me out to eat. Doesn't really work, though. I seem to taste lots of charcoal bits...
But back to the subject of discipline. Writing on a daily basis isn't easy and for some people who also have a day job, it isn't feasible. But when I do get to sit down and work on a manuscript or story, I let the gush run until I can't type any more. Once I have the rough draft, I go back and edit mercilessly before I send it anywhere.
Discipline is important. Whether to produce volume or slash unnecessary verbiage, every writer must exercise their skills. The question is what works best for you, your style, and your life responsibilities.
What methods have you found help you?