Tag Archives: part-time writing

Keeping your story plot alive in face of distractions

Here’s a hurdle. Daily life.

We writers all have it and we juggle many pop-up crises on a too-regular basis. The real trick is to prioritize well and meet the important commitments. Families, health concerns, full-time jobs are all high up there on the list.

But it is also crucial for writers to keep story lines, plots, character development at the forefront of the brain. Letting too much time pass before diving back into the make-believe world just slows the creative process. In the age of electronic publishing, what budding authors have the luxury of taking a year or two to create a novel?

The reason for addressing this today? Real life has intruded this month and I am feeling guilty. But I will not let Real Life buck me from the saddle. I intend to immerse myself in my characters and re-enter that made-up world. I am on my second murder mystery in a series of books, so there’s no halting the process now.

It has, and always will be, hard to say “No.” It is difficult to turn down invitations from friends, requests from a volunteer group, etc. But the reality is, a writer’s time is his currency, his lifeblood. Writers have to write. There simply is no option.

So put your writing time near the top of the list, especially if you are a beginning author. And here’s a free tip. Put writing time on your daily calendar, just as you would any other appointment. When someone inevitably asks for your time, it is easier to decline with, “Oh sorry, I’m booked then. Is there another time…?” etc.

You get the idea. Good luck!


Can a writer be productive when tired, weary?

Writing a dream novel on a part-time basis has plenty of challenges. Keeping all the characters sorted, staying true to the planned plot, getting to the keyboard every day present my top three hurdles.

But when life gets complicated, the day job gets demanding or someone in the family falls ill, the insurmountables seem to stack up.

How can a writer stay on course to completion?

One solution seems to cleave to a routine — like a sheepdog focused on the sheepfold. Get those words, and sheep, in there, pronto! Just herd ’em right in there! Every day.

But if one is tired, grumpy or in just plain need of rest, there is no shame in taking a break for a day. Getting outdoors relieves most people’s ennui and rejuvenates the thinking bits upstairs.

A deadline can trump all distractions when it needs to. Writers seem to flay themselves when the clock is narrowing the window of writing time. The ability to focus that intently on the work, to meet a strict deadline, is the hallmark of the professional.

Pants on chair + fingers on keyboard = completion almost every time. Good luck, there, writers!