^^^M Harold Page here! Just to clear up some twitter confusion: I'm the guy currently serialising a Heroic Fantasy versus Steampunk mashup called Swords Versus Tanks. I'm a bit further down the pecking order than our noble host, but still a professional author with four conventionally published novels and two -- now three -- "indy" ones, plus a book on writing called Storyteller Tools: Outline from vision to finished novel without losing the magic.
Who's poised to embark on NaNoWriMo? Don't worry, this isn't one of those pep talk blog entries (Oh OK. Go YOU! Rah! You CAN do it! RAH! RAHHH!)
I like the idea of National Novel Writing Month. Companionship and a deadline together will motivate you get your ducks lined up in order to tackle a novel, especially if it's for the first time.
However, I don't think focussing on motivation is useful.There is no equivalent to NaNoWriMo for, say, Halo. Nor do gamers generally post on forums pleading for tips about self-discipline.
Yes, you do need some motivation to get started in the first place, to overcome insecurities and to elbow a place in your life in order to write.
Even so, writing itself is a quietly unheroic activity done - like gaming - in flow, "in the zone", and compatible neither with an agitated state of pumped up self confidence nor with taking it in turns to act as online cheerleader.
Conversely, if you are in the zone, motivation isn't an issue and distraction is unlikely; you're lost in your story, so why would you want to be anywhere else?
It follows that the real battle is not about motivation, but rather about getting in the zone and staying there. That's actually a much easier battle to win since the objective is clear and the opposition less nebulous.
Here's what works for me: