Posted: February 10, 2010 in Uncategorized, Wednesday's Writing Tip
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hey, writers with day jobs–do you chunk?

Can you write a book by spending a half hour (or less) a day on the project?

Purists will suggest that you need to sit for hours while blood seeps from your forehead to author a worthy piece of work.

It’d be nice to not have the day gig (and for the matter, the night gig, the freelance gig and the other part-time gig) but there’s that silly mortgage thing.

Your fave?

Interesting though, when you talk to those who have made the leap to full-time writerhood many will admit that their productivity hasn’t increased exponentially with their time.

Could it be that the shift in daily focus might help the process?

Could it be that we’re not meant to write more than a couple hours or less a day?

Is not having the time a legit excuse for not getting a book done?

Might it just mean writing in shorter intervals and finding a rhythm that fits?


  1. Mark Terry says:

    I’m a full-time freelance writer, but I’ve pointed out before that The Devil’s Pitchfork was pretty much written in longhand during my lunch “hour” when I worked at Henry Ford Hospital. I haven’t been finding time to work on fiction the last week or so, but here’s how my work has gone so far today (which is a snow day for my kids)

    –wrote first 2 pages or so of an article for Podiatry Management I’m co-writing with a guy
    –wrote 2-3 pages of a chapter of a nonfiction book I’m ghosting/collaborating on
    –made some phone calls and e-mails to set up interviews for an article I’m writing due mid-March
    –did some work on a twice-a-week bit I do for an e-newsletter which is due tomorrow
    –took my dog out and shoveled the deck
    –proofed an article in the first galley for a technical journal I edit
    –finished reading part of a novel manuscript I’m critiquing for a friend
    –wasting time on your blog and Facebook

    It’s ALL chunks. The chunk I haven’t managed to fit in is going to the gym, but I’ve got more shoveling to do just to get out of my driveway, so it may not happen today. I’ve got a much larger, pricier, difficult and nearer deadline for a book-length report that I expect to spend the afternoon on. ALL CHUNKS.

  2. Just A Girl says:

    I am an executive assistant by day. Mom to three young boys and a wife by night. I write…on my lunch break, after the boys go to bed. Sometimes I lock the bathroom door and write it out long hand in my journal then transfer it quickly to the doc next time I can get to a computer. We have one computer at home (which my husband spends most of his time on ebay and car stuff). I have my work computer. My writing time is limited. Google Documents is great. I have my doc uploaded there and then I can write from where ever I am. Its all up in a secured local. My friend says its “in the sky”. My issue is focus. I know have two outlines for two completely different books (children story and demon/mystery story)…and then yesterday i got another idea (while hiding in the bathroom with some peanuts and my journal). So now I have this third story outline that I dont know what to do with. some days I wish I could have someone write my ideas…i just want to read the book darn it…writing it is MUCH harder.

    I work 10 hours a day as an EA
    i gotta be mom and wife (housekeeper, cook, nanny, tutor)
    in theory I am supposed to exercise and “take care of myself”

    and now I am supposed to write three stories…how am i supposed to do that?

  3. Just A Girl says:

    chunks huh..i am more like at the the bits stage…chunks are tooooo big!

    The warded man was written supposidly on his palm pilot while he commuted to work on the subway. (excellent book btw)

  4. catconnor says:

    In theory I can write full-time.

    But in reality I have an 11 yr old with ADD, Aspergers, and an anxiety disorder- and I know the minute she gets up how the day will do and if I’ll get anything accomplished work wise. There’s also the adorable four year old who has afternoon kindergarten… I usually go sit in the graveyard and catch up on reading – or write long hand during those afternoon sessions.

    I work in chunks.

    It’s breakfast time here at the moment – I’m catching up on blogs, email etc while having my coffee and reminding Squealer to eat. Breezy (4) is dressed -she can manage to do that herself, had breakfast, and is watching TV.
    Saying “Eat” every few minutes is tiresome.

    Once Squealer is at school, I’ll have an hour or so to work, with of course non-stop chatter next to me from happy bubbly Breezy. Then the day breaks apart into much smaller chunks.

    When deadlines loom – I work at night and weekends when hubby can spend more time with the girls. (We have 7 kids, so I’m pretty good at coping with noise and so forth.)

    I write at least one new novel a year, currently I have one I’m polishing ready to send to my publishers – while writing another, I also produce about ten short stories etc.

    Chunks. I can write a novel in about three months, (first draft). I think chunks are a more productive way to write.


    Right time to go make more coffee.
    Have a good day.

  5. tjs9261 says:

    Love it!

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