I've been working on my novel a lot the past month or so and in that time I went from about 15,000 words to 30,000. A novel is generally between about 50,000 and 90,000 words, so I still have at least 20,000 more to go!
It can be tough to work on a novel consistently, especially when you have paid work to do, but here are some ways to ensure that the creative juices keep flowing:
1) Set a timer and word limit. I find that if I decide to myself that I'll spend two hours working on my novel today, and that I'll write 2,000 words, I can actually get that done. The amount of words you get written depends on the amount of research you need to do and such - but if you set yourself some solid deadlines, it can work well. This is also a good technique when you live with others, since you can tell them that you're working so you are not to be disturbed.
2) Read out loud. This is very helpful for dialogue especially. If dialogue isn't your strong suit, read the lines out loud (if a friend is willing, ask them to read the other character's lines). You'll be able to figure out right away if the sentences sound natural. For descriptive sections, this is also useful for checking that everything flows smoothly.
3) Take a break. There's no sense in staring at the computer for hours without writing anything (or, worse, with writing crappy lines). Instead get away from the computer - read a book, take a walk, grab a coffee with a friend or do research for your book. It will help you feel refreshed for when you do go back to the novel.
4) Edit. If you're stuck, begin reading the entire story (what you have already written, anyway) from start to finish. You might catch a few errors, and you also might get new ideas for where the story should go next.
5) Ask for help. Get a friend to read your story and then discuss it with them afterward (or after they've read each chapter, depending how long each one is). Find out what they liked, what they didn't like, what sections confused them, what they'd like to read more about, and if they have any suggestions for where the story could go.
Share your tips for working on a manuscript in the comments section below!