The Night Shift — How 5 Famous Authors Found The Time To Write

Finding the time to write with a full-time job

Most writers
have a full-time career, children, family and social commitments. Where do you
find time to work on your own stories? Let’s face it, only those at the top of
the pyramid have the luxury and security of writing all day. The rest of us
have to carve out time to write after hours. Here are five ideas to help you
find a workable solution.

  1. Become a night owl. When she was starting
    out, Danielle Steel would make herself a cup of herbal tea, pin her hair up,
    set herself down in front of her vintage typewriter and hammer away at her
    manuscript. She’d usually start at 11pm and write in to the early hours of the
  2. The early bird. Novelist Beryl Bainbridge
    would get up at five before her children and write with her notebook balanced
    on the washing machine as she did a load of laundry.
  3. Mark the change. Crime writer Patricia
    Highsmith would come home, have a bath and change into different clothes before
    she settled down to write her own stories. This little ritual helped her
    separate her working life with her rich creative interior world.
  4. Set a timed challenge. Prolific writer Anthony
    Trollope was also and early riser. He’d write between 5:30 and 8:30 and with
    his watch in front of him. He’d require himself to write 250 words every
    quarter of an hour.
  5. Make the most of days
    Stephen King
    famously admitted that he writes on Christmas Day. If you’re a compulsive
    writer, any day off is a great time to catch up on writing. Your imagination
    doesn’t know it’s a public holiday.

The lesson here
is that if you really want to finish a book or a screenplay, you will find a
way to make it happen – even if it means you go with less sleep!

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This article has 0 comments

  1. G-Dude

    Well, that’s just f’n lovely advice, Anthony – except the first two you mentioned were not holding down full time jobs while writing late or early. Nowadays, a full time job means 60 hours a week, and if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll soon be without a job, or without a book, or both. Since you need your brain in order to write, and your brain needs sleep in order to function, it is hardly a good idea to suggest that one simply needs to sleep less. Setting a tight window of a couple of hours, however, either at night before bed or early in the morning, is a much more workable solution. I strongly recommend the following book, written by a dear friend:

  2. Anthony Ehlers

    You’ve raised some great points. The work-writing balance is one I’m struggling with at the moment. The scheduled, tight windows of time probably work best.
    BTW, as memory serves me, Danielle Steel had a job at an ad agency when she wrote her first books, and BB having children and a household to take care of certainly had a fullt-time job -on her hands 🙂

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