Thank you for asking! Ok, so I made two huge changes. I'll break it down for ya:
The first change: I tried different variations on the super short writing sprint things. While some places recommend really hyping it up with a timer and like getting ready for this big "sprint-like" thing where you emphasize just goin nuts and writing as much as you can in a short amount of time as fast as you can... I found that made me too anxious to do regularly. HOWEVER, that kind of getting worked up was helpful for getting me out of the big rut initially.
What I ended up doing and have kept doing and have written more in the past two months than I had in like a year... is.... Even though it felt pitiful, and ridiculous, and like I wouldn't be able to get any meaningful work done, and I felt so down on myself that I had to set such a low bar... I simply set a writing goal of 30 minutes on any days/chunks I scheduled this term to do my writing. (So back up, first thing I had to do was schedule times for writing, but I had already done that the past two terms, and was still making slow progress).
So the important piece was setting that goal of 30 minutes, because:
it is a very palatable amount of time that I can "agree to" during even my most vehement writing-resistant moods;
it is very achievable no matter what else is going on that day or in my life in my brain, heart, work, academics, classes, etc.;
that achievability made it such that, even if I only did 30 minutes of writing, that was my goal, which meant I hit my goal for the day, and could actually feel good about myself instead of the terrible cycle I had gotten into of not writing "enough" and not feeling good about myself for not writing enough, then feeling worse about myself, which made me less want to write because it was gonna be garbage anyway (insert your own negative self-talk spiral here);
the goal was in MINUTES rather than WORDS or PAGES. This really works better for me, because quantity doesn't really matter - I know I have enough data and enough to say about my data that I am going to have a large ass body of work. The stresses I would feel if I set a word-count or page-count goal were feeding into the negative self-talk of not writing "enough" as an amount. Sometimes when I write, I need to or just like to revisit some data, some reference, or find an additional reference, or even revisit data in a whole new way. The writing process is as much about thinking as it is about writing, and by allowing myself to "write" for 30 MINUTES rather than 500 WORDS, I gave myself the permission to engage the whole process rather than just the strictly understood physical act of writing. Some days I don't write very much, but I make a lot of progress, and progress has to be measured in more than just word-count for me right now;
Almost every single time, I end up writing for more than 30 minutes, often for MUCH more than 30 minutes (like 6 hours!).
So, to put that in TL;DR terms:
30 minutes is palatable
30 minutes is achievable
that achievability = higher likelihood of actual achievement = boost in confidence
counting in minutes rather than words allows the full creative (and enjoyable) process to unfold
you often end up writing for longer than 30 minutes
The second change: I started a little asynchronous writing group, meaning we have a shared document with a week-by-week spreadsheet that says your name, your weekly goal, your daily goal (optional), what you accomplished that day, and what is pending/next steps. Every piece is optional to fill out except for the weekly goal. Every two weeks or so we do a live video call to talk about whatever we want to in relation to what we're working on. That means if we want, we can spend time commiserating about how hard it is or what we're stuck on or what we don't like; or we can talk about the content and methods and engage in academic speak of our work; or we can talk about how much and what we've accomplished...... basically whatever each person feels like sharing about the last two weeks in relation to their writings.
Some smaller changes:
I celebrate the shit out of my accomplishments and successes, in proportion to their significance. I almost always mini celebrate just hitting the little writing goal, maybe with a little food treat, maybe with a nature treat, maybe just telling a friend I achieved it, maybe a TV show, etc. Bigger things like finishing a first draft of a chapter and submitting to an advisor, I took myself out to eat to a fav place, or took the next writing day off, etc.
I found a work buddy to work at the same time as - sometimes we work together in person, sometimes we work together virtually.
One other thing I'd like to share may or may not be peculiar to me, but I remember reading that book "Just Write!" and it's about how we make all these excuses for not writing when actually all we need to do is... just write! While I loved that book and it contributed to the shift that has led to where I am now, one point I want to make is that one of my "excuses" was that I didn't have enough LONG chunks of time during which to write.
Here's the thing: for me, that does actually make a huge difference. This term I have one full day where I don't have any other obligations except to work on my writings (I did this by design), and I LOVE that day. Other days maybe I have two hours, then my work shift starts, and the quality and joyfulness of the writing experience is significantly diminished, and that DID contribute to my negative spiral in the past. The truth is for me it DOES suck to really get going on my writing, then have to stop while I'm at a nice clip... that really does demotivate me and bum me out. So, if you've read that book, and some of your excuses are in that book, yes of course consider them as possibly "just" lame excuses, but also, there may be something to them that is worth not casting out of your consideration completely.
Part of this is because of the quarantine, so I am ABLE to make some of these changes.
Also a huge part of this is because of my own therapeutic work I've done on my issues; I know and sort of hope it sounds funny, but it's true! I have had major confidence issues for totally justified reasons, and I've done a ton of work on them for a couple years, and I think my academic progress right now is actually in part a culmination of that healing. Gotta feel good enough about yourself to think that your own words are worth writing down... and that's a big shift for me.
Also I'm gonna start a Writing Goals thread for people to chime in on any time they want to, because I've learned that I also really love celebrating other people's successes too!