The LSE blog has 30 tips for successful academic research and writing from Deborah Lupton. There are some really helpful points here. The planning ahead one is a big of a tricky point. I often find that I have a mixture of short-term and long-term plans, that often alter as I adapt them to my enthusiasms. My favourite point from Deborah’s list is probably the first one, which is also the one that reminds me most of C Wright Mills notes on intellectual craftsmanship:
Choose something to research/write about that you are passionately interested in. I find that most of my research and writing tends to spring from wanting to find out more or understand more about a particular phenomenon that intrigues me. In explaining it to myself I end up explaining it to others, hopefully in a new and interesting way that is worthy of publication.