When I've been asked over the years for advice on how to become a better photographer, I've always suggested a straightforward method that can easily be practiced by anyone who's in earnest. There's no secret to it. One need simply shoot one roll of film a day for a month. (On a digital camera, of course, the equivalent of one roll is 36 exposures.) If one then makes a contact sheet after each day's session and carefully studies the photographs thus obtained before shooting the following day's roll, there will almost certainly be a noticeable improvement in the quality of the photos at the end of the 30-day period. This is not a very difficult assignment and easily within the grasp of anyone who sincerely seeks to better his or her work.
The same is true of creative writing. The most important thing is to do a small amount of writing every day and then carefully read over what one has written to see where improvements can be made before beginning again the next day. The key here is the phrase "every day." It's essential that one keep at it. It's a mistake to believe one need sit down in front of a computer keyboard and churn out a 300 page novel in a single straight session. Though Jack Kerouac may famously have typed On the Road in this manner on a single roll of mimeograph paper, most of those attempting to emulate his feat will only experience discouragement and give up long before reaching the end.
In an otherwise unhelpful writing guide, I once came across a basic piece of arithmetic: if one writes three pages per day, one will have completed a 270 page novel at the end of three months. This is the rule I try to follow in my own work. I put aside at least two hours each day, preferably at the same time in the afternoon, in which to write three pages as best I can. After all, two hours a day is not a particularly burdensome commitment for anyone aspiring to become a professional or even an amateur writer. And if I can complete more than three pages in the allotted time, so much the better.
What's required here is really self-discipline. Unless one lives as a monk - and that's rather difficult to do in New York City - there will be days so hectic that it's difficult to find two hours to spare. But it's essential that this be done. The self-imposed assignment should be viewed as a part-time job that an employee need show up for every day and there perform his work as conscientiously as possible. As one goes along, he will find that there are days in which he is inspired to continue working once the two hours after elapsed. While this should be encouraged to a certain extent, at the same time one should be wary of burning oneself out by pushing beyond reasonable limits.
Needless to say, the 270 pages one is left with at the end of the three months will not constitute a final product. There will be any amount of revisions and edits still needed before the work is completed and ready for publication. Still, a 270 page manuscript should in most cases be sufficient for a first draft. To me, the most difficult part of writing a novel is telling a story interesting and detailed enough that it can be sustained over the length of several hundred pages without losing the reader's interest. Once this has been accomplished, the hardest part of the battle is over.
In summary, the more one works at given task the better one becomes at doing it. Or, as the tired cliché puts it, practice makes perfect. Becoming a better writer or a better photographer can seem a nebulous and difficult goal, but if one completes the work involved in small increments, there is much less chance of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.