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March 05, 2015 at 06:55 AM UTC

I’m in grad school and have very little time to write due to test schedules and assignments. I told myself I was going to spend 30 min- 1 hr on Saturdays, but like you said- it’s one thing to say it another to do it! Maybe this will inspire me!


March 08, 2015 at 12:43 AM UTC

If it’s any help, once you get over the first few weeks/months of writing, you’ll start to write much faster which helps a lot in learning to squeeze your writing time in. Otherwise if you find that you HAVE to write in short bursts instead of setting aside time, I suggest checking out (It’s a website that specializes in the shorter chapter stories I mentioned in my post.) Good luck! I know you can do it! 🙂

Writing Tips: Productivity

I’m sad to say I’m pushing back The Little Selkie‘s release to early April instead of mid March. The delay is a downer, but I’m actually excited about it! It’s being delayed because a second editor is taking a look at it! I’m hopeful this will give my books a boost in terms of quality/proofreading, which will deliver a higher quality read. Or it should. I hope. Time will tell what you Champions think!

Also, fun news! The Wild Swans will be available on Amazon for FREE from March 5, to March 7. Pick up a copy, or send a copy to your friends! 😉

Moving on, today I’m tackling two questions about writing and time management. Let’s begin!

Maddie asks “How can you find time to write while in school and taking an extracurricular?”

I’ve been out of school for a while, but as I’ve mentioned before I did write a few books while in high school and college. When I was in high school I tried to set aside an hour a day to write. Some semesters that hour was my study hall, but typically it was the hour after I got home—before dinner and before I did any of my night activities. In college it was a little easier because my schedule was so flexible.

An hour a day is what worked for me. For you it might be half an hour every day, or an hour every other day, or maybe three hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The amount/frequency of the time isn’t  as important as the dedication. If you manage your time so you can write half an hour every day, (Or three hours on the weekends or whatever you choose) it will become habit. If you really want to make your time count, try to write in a place that is free of distractions—this means probably NOT your bedroom. In college I wrote a lot at my university library. It was great because I couldn’t ever get distracted by food, roommates, or noise.

It’s easy to say “carve out an hour to write,” but it’s another thing to do it. You’ll probably have to make some kind of sacrifice. ( For example, I watched zippo TV in high school, but I was okay with that because to me writing was more important.) Now days if I want to squeeze extra time into my day for writing, I get up an hour early.

Another option–besides the dedicated time–is to try and redeem “lost” minutes. Instead of writing on a computer, do all of your writing in a notebook, or maybe your ipad or your smart phone. (Some Japanese stories are written entirely though texts, with each new “chapter” being one text.) Carry your chosen recording method with you EVERYWHERE. Whenever you have a few minutes (if you arrive at school early, or you’re waiting for practice to begin or class to start, or you’re riding the bus) take out your notebook/ipad/smart phone and get writing! The downside to this method is that it can be jarring to delve into your writing only to disconnect several minutes later. However, the short time periods can help with your creativity. I know of an author who writes short stories using twitter. About 5-20 tweets make one story, and they are really entertaining. Anyway! If you’re absolutely desperate for time, this is your way to go!

I hope that helps, Maddie. Good luck!

Annnnd for the next question, Kelly asks, “How do you write so fast? Most other authors I follow write so slowly compared to you. They take double the time or longer. (This includes the post-writing process)”

The building blocks of my speed are practice, and time. I’m a full-time author, which means I log anywhere from 40-50 hours a week on my books. As for practice, my first book (It was HORRID. In fact, let’s not talk about it. It brings back nightmares.) I wrote almost fifteen years ago. When I started it took me over a year to finish a book, but practice and reading a lot of non-fiction books and articles about writing helped whittle it down to roughly six to three months depending on the book length. Mind you, I had written about eight books by the time I got to that point–and at least four of those eight books will never see the light of day. It’s like the old saying “It takes 10,000 hours to master something.”

The biggest game-changer was when I read a book called “2k to 10k” by Rachel Aaron. On average, most authors write 500 to 2,000 words per day, which is roughly 2-5ish pages in a Microsoft word document. I usually managed to write 5 pages a day, or 6 on a particularly good day, and this was considered impressive. After reading “2k to 10k” I jumped to writing 13 pages a day.

And the final reason why I am relatively fast, is because I tackle my books in much shorter succession than most authors. For instance, last month I wrote Little Selkie. This month I’m aiming to start and finish Puss in Boots. Most writers take a few months in between their books. I don’t. My mother tells me I’m a wee bit obsessed. I choose to use the term “passionate.”

As a side note, my fast pace is due mostly to my writing speed. The editing process takes much longer than you would expect, because I’m trying to balance my schedule, my beta reader’s schedule, and my editor’s schedule. Plus, whenever anyone edits the book I have to go over it again to read their comments and view their changes.

I hope you found this post informative, Champions! Have a great day, and I’ll chat with you soon.

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