Daily Archives: January 3, 2020

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How to Finish Your Book and Keep Your Day Job

January 3, 2020 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as

Writing on the Go by Will Zeilinger

Writing a book is a work of love. However, things get in the way, i.e., work. We all dream of the day when we can make enough money to survive on our writing alone. Until that day comes (if it ever does), we need to keep our full-time jobs. We wrote and published our first five books working full time.

This year we’d like to share a few jewels that worked for us during those hectic days of working and writing.

Most authors have characters, plot lines, or dialog running around in our heads most of our waking hours. How can you keep those great ideas from floating away until you can sit down and put them in your manuscript?

You need to keep a pad and a pen or pencil on your person at all times (unless you have a tablet or are a thumb master on your smartphone.) When one of your characters starts talking to you while you are waiting in a checkout line or at a long traffic light, you’ll be prepared to take a few quick notes for later.

At the office, you can always scribble a few notes while on hold or while sitting in a conference room waiting for a meeting to start.

My wife, Janet, learned on her sixty-minute work commute that sometimes traffic would come to a complete stop for fifteen minutes or more. She was able to jot a few notes or whole scenes while waiting for the cars to start moving again.

The same holds for waiting in the doctor or dentist’s waiting room. Rather than thumbing through four-year-old magazines, work on your story…whether its fiction or non-fiction, medical office waiting rooms are great. They have comfortable seats, good lighting, and are usually quiet.

A popular place to write while on your lunch break is a coffee shop or diner. If you choose to eat by yourself, you can have a whole table to spread your materials on while you eat and write. We’ve done this, and it works out well.

If you pack your lunch, hotel lobbies are a great place to write, and people watch. Some great character studies can come from watching travelers.

At this point, you might ask what’s wrong with just going home at lunchtime to write? The reasons are as simple and as complicated as, children, chores, pets, mail, television, and internet can all be distractions, plus—unless you live very nearby, you use up precious time going there and back.

If you happen to be traveling alone or with a writing partner (in my case—my wife), your writing can begin with an Uber, train, or taxi ride where you don’t have to concentrate on the time or driving. At the airport, you can pull out the trusty note pad and pencil while waiting for your flight to be called.
Inspiration can also flash into your mind at any time, so be prepared, and you won’t be saying, “I should have written that down.”

The bottom line is you don’t need to be at your computer at home. You can slip in a few minutes here and there to keep your writing momentum going.

Keep up the good writing!

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