As for writing, the main thing is to plow along, I think, and not get distracted by the Internet.
D'oh! I did pretty well at lunch today and my story finally seems to be progressing. One big part of writing is not only giving your characters a goal, but giving them goals the reader can care about. One of the problems I had was that my main character had a goal, but not one that was very interesting...so I upped the stakes.
Not wanting to die is a less abstract goal!