Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Tom Schreck writes the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries

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? Maybe things percolate while you're at the day job in cubicle hell. Maybe it's even good for you. Maybe several jobs give you a variety of experiences that prime the muse pump.

Or maybe it just exhausts you.

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. I've done it all: written books on evenings and weekends, an hour before work every day, in a mad rush during November/NaNo, and in daily sessions as a full-time novelist. If you're determined, it all works! But my favorite is the mad rush. I love to get the first draft done without interruptions that break my concentration. But I only got lucky with that once, so I just keep doing my best under whatever circumstance life throws at me.

    Day jobs are Catch 22s: You need them to pay the bills, but they take up the time that you should be spending marketing to increase your sales enough to pay the bills.

  2. If you have a day job, chunking is the name of the game, unfortunately. That is, unless your day job is a work-at-home job that allows you some fudging, Say, two to three hours in the morning or over a long lunch break that you can make up later in the day. How many writers do you know that would love to be able to pitch their day jobs for the chance to write -- OK, Tweet -- full-time? Gotta just keep believing that the work will pay off in the end. Good luck to all us Chunkers.

  3. I wrote my first book while working extremely long hours while I was practicing law. It took me six months. I'm now working full time as a writer and working on book number five and I have yet to finish one as quickly as the first. In all fairness, marketing is like having a second job.

    But I agree, the busier I am, the more I get done.

  4. Tom - many of the authors I interview, most actually, would love to be full time writers but unfortunately, are unable to do so. I wish there were were more book lovers who knew how many wonderful books are written by self-published and indie-published authors so that those who do not wish to work could write full time.

    Pam Stack

  5. I've been working at home for eleven years now and squeezing my writing into my real daytime job is a no go area. Has been from day one. I found out a long time ago that thinking about the story I'm writing during the day - when my clients are paying me - disturbs heavily with my work. (I work as an advertising creative and copywriter). It's easier for me to separate the two halves of my creative existence ENTIRELY. So I do the writing in the evening or on the weekends or in the holiday season. The hardest part is creating a schedule that works. When I'm contemplating a story, trying to 'feel' it and let it grow in my head, I need like 24 hours off, or 48 hours of, and be in the woods preferably. But once I know where the story's going and I'm actually writing I can always write for one hour at a time. One hour a day if I'm lucky. But in the end I agree with L.J. Sellers, who writes in these comments: "If you're determined, it all works!" That's exactly right: you have to want to make it work, no matter what. I remember Stephen King saying he wrote parts of "Carrie" in a tiny room, next to the washing machine, the typewriter on his lap. And at odd hours too, no doubt.


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