I wonder how other writer’s cope with interruptions.  I don’t mean the cat just puked, the dog dug up the backyard sprinklers or the kids figured out the cable code that let’s them access Skinimax – no, I mean the long interruptions of life like the day job that can take you away from your work in progress for extended periods of time.

Everyone knows I’m a Marketing Director (you knew that, right?) and that job comes with a lot of heavy time drains outside normal business hours.  There are days when I sit down to work on a story (or more accurately, nights), get some work done, then collapse into bed, go to work the next day and maybe not get back to that story for 12 hours or longer – sometimes days longer.

The challenge at that point is getting back into the groove.

I assume full time writer’s roll out of bed in the morning, have their routine and eventually (thinking by 8 or 9 am), they are back in the chair and working on the piece they were working on the night before.  For the writer who is working other jobs to pay the bills, you have to do the work you’re getting paid for first – the day job.  We can have huge gaps of time in-between writing sessions.

For me, I’ll go to sleep usually not wanting to stop writing.  I’m on a roll, words are flowing well – the last thing I want to do is stop and go to bed.  But I do – I have to, there’s bills to pay and a mortgage – these things have to take priority.  So when I get back to the story, there’s that moment of – What the hell was I doing?

How did I get the characters to this point?

Where was I going next?

Which bit do I need to write now?

Sometimes this takes just a brief glance at the previous pages, sometimes it takes longer.  When I write over lunch time, which I try to do every day, it can be worse.  There are times when I just get back into the groove of the story, back into that zone of writing, and then the little alarm chime on my phone goes off to inform me that I need to shut it all down and get back in the car and go back to work.


I feel like I could be really prolific if I just had the time.

So, do I need to rearrange my life so that I have more time to devote to writing?  Or do I need to get better at writing so I can get more done in the time I have?




  • Paul Posted February 24, 2011 10:08 am

    The challenge at that point is getting back into the groove.

    I get this in my PBEM email turns that I put out a couple of times a week. Living as I do with my friends, sitting down to do them sometimes results in the dog, or the 7 year old, coming to visit and asking for attention. Getting into that groove again after they left is tough.

    From what I have seen lately, Patrick, you need to maximize the time you have available. Two writing excuses ago, Brandon and co. addressed this rather directly. Also, Moses took that lesson home from Writing Superstars.

    We all need time to write in order to write. And I think that devoting more time to writing makes us better writers. So, my thought (for myself, too, as well as you) is more time first.

    • Patrick Hester Posted February 24, 2011 11:45 am

      Yeah, I have a side-gig that doesn’t seem to be working out because we have different expectations. I may exit that at the end of the month and reclaim some time.

      Don’t worry – it’s not any of the podcasts 😉

      Also – you are awesome. I see you in the community a lot and just wanted to commend you for your participation and insight. Thanks 🙂


  • FARfetched Posted February 24, 2011 10:37 am

    I can relate. But instead of overtime at work, it’s family. Having a toddler crawl into your lap and poke the keyboard can wreck your focus and cause minor damage to the MSS — and unlike a cat, you can’t just cuss out a toddler & throw him/her across the room. You’ve got your mom there, but from what I’ve read here she doesn’t throw many wrenches into your workflow (try getting married & living near in-laws for the full wrench-storm experience).

    I rarely just quit writing at the stroke of a clock. I hit a stopping point, look at the time, breath a curse, then go to bed. 😛 That, of course, is if the other denizens of FAR Manor haven’t hosed up my writing mood in the first place…

    Full-time writers? Not too many of those. You either have to be a Big Name, or be married to someone who brings in the primary income.

    • Patrick Hester Posted February 24, 2011 11:52 am

      Mom does as mom wills. Couple of nights ago, I had just settled in with the laptop to do a little writing when she came up and asked me to drive her to the post office so she could drop something urgent in the mail.

      What do I do? Say no?

      So, that killed about 30 minutes there and back.

      (also, I never toss a cat across the room…)

      I think there are full time writers who don’t just write fiction – they write manuals, flier copy, website copy, greeting cards, columns for newspapers, columns for blogs, etc and so on. There is such a think as the ‘working writer’…

      You are awesome too, btw. I appreciate the comments 🙂


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