I've wanted to publish a book for a long time (since I was 10 or 11), but never bothered to do any serious writing until a few years ago. Now I'm in college and working part time in an engineering firm as well as on my own startup, so you can imagine how busy and unpredictable my life is. The original plan was to get my life on the right track so that I would be stable enough to be able to write and work on other creative projects, but the further in I get, the more it seems that I'm defeating my own purposes by being too busy to work on the real endgoal. I've started to realize that if I ever want to finish a novel, I need to start now and find a way to make it happen despite everything else that demands my attention. I know I don't have the focus right now to tackle a large project, but I've started a couple of short story series over the years that I think it would be fun to add to in small chunks.
From what I have gotten finished, I've found that writing daily and having a daily word goal works best for me, but there are a lot of days where I just don't bother because I know I don't have the time to really settle in. My question is this: how much time do you find you have to devote to a writing session to find you get something out of it (as in steady progress toward finishing) and how do you stay on target if you can only make those sessions short?