Monday, April 14, 2008

Time To Write!

I knew the minute I saw this book on the Barnes and Noble shelf that I would have to share it with you all. The book is called Time To Write by Kelly Stone. She is a freelance writer and author who decided to ask the question so many writers get asked: How do you find time to write? Kelly interviewed dozens of writers from many different genres to find out-- not how they find the time to write-- but how they make the time. With chapters on balancing family and writing, different tactics to preserve ideas, and different ways to get words down on paper, the book leaves someone who wants to write with 1) no excuses not to and 2) the inspiration that they can indeed find time to write. I loved this book and am glad I can recommend it to all of you who find yourself saying, "But I don't have time to write!" This book will free you from ever saying that again by changing the way you think about writing.

I asked Kelly to drop by and answer a few questions. She was gracious to do that and also to offer a free copy of the book "A Cup Of Comfort For Mothers and Daughters" that she contributed to. So, leave a comment and you will be entered to win-- Mother's Day is just around the corner and this would make a great gift for a mom in your life!

Hi Kelly, thanks for dropping by! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me, Marybeth! It's a pleasure to be here. Several years ago, I started a successful freelance writing career while also holding down a full time job. My articles have been published in Family Circle, Writer's Digest, Cat Fancy, The Toastmaster, and my essays have appeared in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort anthologies. I published my first novel, Grave Secret (Mundania Press), last September, and it got a 3-star review from Romantic Times who called it "powerful' and "well-written". My book Time to Write: More Than 100 Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing Into Your Busy Life (Adams Media) is out now. I have a master's degree in counseling and have worked as a professional counselor to children, families, and adults for about 20 years. I recently moved back to northwest Florida, which is where I grew up, after living in Atlanta for 18 years. My website is

What made you decide to write this book?
I wrote TIME TO WRITE because after I started getting published in magazines and then landed a publishing contract for my novel, people started asking me where on earth I found time to write because I had a full time job plus all the other typical obligations that adults have these days-- house, family, lawn, pets, social activities, and so on. People were simply stunned that I could live a typical adult life AND write books and articles that got published. So many people have this notion that you've got to have huge blocks of uninterrupted time, sequestered away on a mountaintop in order to get a book written. It's just not reality for anybody, not even the 104 writers I interviewed for my book. So I wanted to teach aspiring authors how to become successful writers while also living a typical busy life. And it's possible-- you can make significant headway toward your writing dreams in as little as ten as minutes a day. Many of the writers I interviewed got started that way. My book shows you how you can do it, too.

Explain the Burning Desire to Write and how it has impacted your life.
The Burning Desire to Write is that aching, yearning feeling that all people who hear the genuine call to write feel. It's that nagging sensation that no matter what else you're doing, you should be writing instead. And when you're writing, there's nothing else you'd rather be doing but that. I've felt the Burning Desire to Write since I could hold a pencil. I still remember the day when, at about six years of age, I started the process of learning to write letters. I remember that being one of the happiest days of my life, because the desire to put words on paper called to me in a way that I really can't explain. I just knew, even at that young age, that writing was all I wanted to do, and I simply couldn't wait to get on with it. Jodi Picoult summed up the Burning Desire to Write in TIME TO WRITE when she said, "I couldn't not write." I know exactly what she means, because that's how I felt, too. The Burning Desire to Write keeps you writing in the face of all rejection and all discouragement. You write because you have to. All of the writers I interviewed for my book said that they would keep on writing even if they never got published again. That's the Burning Desire to Write. You can't not write.

What, in your opinion, is one of the best tips on balancing writing and family life that you heard while compiling the book?
Use a Writing Schedule! I cannot stress this enough. There are 7 of them to choose from in TIME TO WRITE that the professionals use. Most of the bestselling authors quoted in TIME TO WRITE are parents, and they all used a writing schedule before (and after) they were published as a way to balance family life with writing. Here's a tip: every Sunday night, look at your upcoming week and pinpoint time that is naturally free-- maybe it's the 15 minutes between the time the kids leave for school and you catch your ride to work, or after the kids have gone to bed for the night, or while they're doing their homework, or while the family is watching a program on TV. Then, schedule in some time to write during that already unobligated time, even if it's just 15 minutes. Write it down. Put in on your calendar. So now it's there, and the idea that "I'm too busy to write" doesn't wash anymore because you do have the time-- it's right there on your calendar. Just like you schedule in your kid's soccer practices and doctor's appointments and school conferences, pencil in "writing time" too. Otherwise, your day is dictated by other chores and activities and before you know it, it's time for bed and you haven't written anything. There's an activity in TIME TO WRITE that I created called the "24-hour Time Budget" that will help you spot pockets of time in your day where you can schedule in some writing. Believe me, it can be done. A writing schedule also helps your family support your efforts as an aspiring author. When they learn that between 7 and 8 each night, or between 1 and 1:30 every afternoon, you are not available because you're writing, they accept that over time. There's an entire chapter in TIME TO WRITE devoted to tips for balancing family life with writing, with a lot of great advice from bestselling authors like Wendy Corsi Staub, Merline Lovelace, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Carly Phillips, and Susan Grant.

What advice would you give to someone who desires to write but is afraid of failure?
I would say read my book because you'll hear some incredible stories of how much "failure" these bestselling authors went through before they became successful as writers. There's really no such thing as failure, anyway. Each "no" in the form of a rejection letter gets you one step closer to your first "yes." "Failure" is so common in the world of writing, even for the bestsellers that I interviewed who still receive rejections, that over time you become immune to it. And by immune to it I mean that you eventually get to the point where you just don't let it slow you down. How did writing this book help you become a better, more committed writer?Great question. Writing TIME TO WRITE made my own Burning Desire to Write stronger. After I got the book contract, my editor helped me set up the interviews with the writers, and it was incredible to talk to all of those wonderful authors who told me story after story of commitment, perseverance, and tenacity. It was awesome to talk to these amazing people who had had a dream and they let nothing-- absolutely nothing-- sway them from the pursuit of that dream. These writers inspired me not only to keep going with my own dreams regarding writing, but to aim for new heights. They showed me that it CAN be done, and I hope that's something that readers will take away from TIME TO WRITE, too-- that feeling of inspiration that it can be done.

Thanks Kelly for stopping by! Anything else you want us to know about?
I wil be presenting a workshop based on TIME TO WRITE called "No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can Find Time to Write" at the Romantic Times Convention April 16-20 in Pittsburgh. And please sign up for my monthly TIME TO WRITE newsletter, with more tips and advice from bestselling authors on how to make time to write in your busy life! Sign up at, or send me an email at

Don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of "A Cup of Comfort For Mothers and Daughters"! (Note: this is not a copy of the book Time To Write.) Contest ends on Wednesday, 4/16!

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tiggerdaisy said...

Coolness! I'm looking forward to getting this book! Hopefully I can win it instead of buy it! hahahaha

I'm glad you are feeling better! I can tell by your writing that you are on the "upswing!" :)

Prayers and Blessings!

Cayce's crazy life said...

Would love to share this book with my teenage daughters!
Thanks for the chance.

Cyndie said...

I would love a chance to win this book:)! Thanks for the interview Kelly and thanks for sharing Kelly with us Marybeth!

Bonita said...

Great interview! I look forward to reading the book.

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

I love these contests. I have actually won a couple of books recently so I wonder if my luck has run out. Oh well, it's worth a try!

KimAmburn said...

Great interview! I think so many people use the excuse that they don't have time when they really have fear. I'm looking forward to reading it and good luck with the RT convention!

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing this. I believe I'll be popping over to B&N today to check out Time to Write.

Wrinkled Shirt Ministries said...

Wow, did I ever need to read that today. Not having time to write is my daily excuse. Thanks gals!
Paula G.

Carol said...

Sounds awesome! I know we all struggle with finding time to write!

Michelle said...

I enjoyed the interview. This is just the inspiration I needed to MAKE the time to write. Thanks for the chance to win "A Cup of Comfort For Mothers and Daughters."

Joyful said...

Hi Marybeth, I actually just wanted to comment on the book, "Time to Write". I've tried scheduling my writing into my week, but without fail EVERY WEEK either my work schedule changes, an emergency arises, etc.. It's so discouraging. I still try and grab what time I can - and I will keep trying. I know that these interuptions can also be the evil one stealing my time.

I am one of those, "I can't not write" people. Even though I don't get the time I would like to commit to writing, I do make time to write letters (yes...I'm a letter writer as oppose to an electronic e-mail gal) and encouraging notes, and this too brings me great pleasure. When I have time to write, I always want to write to those who need a 'pick-me-up' before writing for myself.

Will have to purchase this book - sounds wonderful!
Glad you're feeling better,
PS. Please do not enter my name in your draw. One more opportunity for someone else :o)

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Ah, to make time... even if it is to make time to write words for our children, tracks of where we've been, the imprint of His story on our days.

Thank you, Marybeth...

Marla Taviano said...

My hubby and I had a date night a few weeks ago and spent quite a bit of time in Barnes & Noble. I devoured that book!!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Great interview!

I, too, struggle to find the time. I've gotten pretty good about carving out one day a week while my son's at preschool, but I need to be better about carving out those moments as well.

writetools said...

This is a great book... I have read quite a few books about writing...this one inspired me to...we just start writing. Thanks for the interview! Amie