To continue our Behind the Quill series, we are immensely pleased to announce that we have our own little panel of beloved and highly-experienced authors here to answer YOUR questions about writing: Jill Barnett, Kari Lee Harmon, Willa Blair, and Jaclyn Reding! You can look forward to them stopping by every other week or so through the end of November, and this week they’ll be answering questions about what it’s like to get started as an author. So, without further ado, let’s get to those questions!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors whose spouses and families might not be supporting of their endeavors?
Jill: Honestly? Very few people will take you seriously. Don’t look for affirmation from others. Write, and write, and when you publish a book or two they will be right there with you.
Kari: I found it useful when I first started out and had small children, etc. to write down every hour of the day that I was awake. I filled in all the essential hours with family, sports, meals, chores, etc. Then I looked at any hours that were free. If I didn’t have any, then I planned to get up one hour early or go to bed one hour later to build in writing time. I wrote my writing time in red and taped the schedule to the refrigerator. Then I had a heart to heart and made sure everyone knew if I was there for them all the other hours of that day, then the least they could do was let me have my me time. Be clear that your writing is just as important to you as their dreams are to them, and you would appreciate their support. Short of the house burning down, they are not to disturb you during your writing block, period! Then find a quiet place away from everyone where you can lock the door and not answer until you’re finished. When they see how much you do for them, it’s easier for them to be fair. And if they’re not, stick to your plan anyway.
Willa: Make time away from them – early morning? Late night? While kids are at school? On your lunch hour? Something away from prying eyes. Once they’re published, the attitude usually improves in those around them.
Jaclyn: Never give up on yourself, regardless of what anyone else might say or think. Find a way to protect your writing time, establishing a boundary for the time that is just yours. Even if it is early in the morning, or late at night, when family demands are typically quieter.
How did you make time for writing when you first started?
Jill: I made the decision to quit working toward my Master’s and gave myself a few years to write and sell a novel. That was 1986. I sold my first book two years to the month, October 1988, that I quit school.
Kari: I was a schedule freak. For me, I tend to write during nap time. And when my children grew older, they still knew they had to have quiet time and not disturb me. Even though my children are grown now, I still write a schedule for myself. It helps keep me on track. Meals, workouts, writing time, dog time, hubby time 😉 You’d be amazed how much time people waste without even realizing it. When you take a close look at all the hours in your day, there is always time to fit most things in. You just have to stick to your schedule.
Willa: Nights and weekends. I was working full-time.
Jaclyn: I worked full time, and wrote at night. I was very fortunate in that my family supported me and helped make sure I had the time I needed to pursue my writing.
We don’t know about you, but we’re definitely feeling inspired to block out some time to ourselves, find a quiet space to set up camp, and get to work on a new story. What about you?
Finding time to write is often one of the hardest things to do when you first start writing. And, if you’re trying to do NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words in a single month, it can seem even harder. We hope these tips will help you find ways to work writing into your schedule, even when you’re juggling work, kids, and more. Even just thirty minutes a day can help get your novel from inside your head to on the page.
Let us know in the comments which bit of advice spoke to you the most!
Oh! And if you want to check out NaNoWriMo as a whole, you can find tips, tricks, and a whole lot of community on their page here.
New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Barnett is master storyteller known for her beautifully-written love stories rich with humor, emotion, and poignancy. In addition to the critical acclaim and numerous awards she has received, her books have been named Best of the Year, earned starred reviews and have been published in 23 languages and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. She lives in the PNW with her family.
Kari Lee Townsend is a National Bestselling Author of mysteries & a tween superhero series. She also writes romance and women’s fiction as Kari Lee Harmon. With a background in English education, she’s now a full-time writer, wife to her own superhero, mom of three sons, one darling diva, one daughter-in-law & two lovable fur babies. These days you’ll find her walking her dogs or hard at work on her next story, living a blessed life.