The secret to writing more

By Jessica Zellman

Every writer dreams of writing full time, but most of us can’t. There’s the day job, a home to clean, dinner to make, children, a spouse, pets or all of the above who need attention and on and on. The truth is that even writing full time; most of those distractions will still be with us. So what’s the secret to carving our more writing time amongst all the distractions?

Let’s see what some bestselling writers recommend.  

Stephen King offered some advice in his excellent book On Writing. The master of horror said to blow up your television.

I can hear you arguing already. “But the new season of Doctor Who just started! I have to watch Supernatural! I still need to catch up on Camelot and Being Human. And True Blood will be on again soon!”

Oh wait, those are my objections.  Okay, let’s amend the “no TV” rule. How about, no random TV? You know, when you turn on the squawking box for no real reason and just flip around, watching whatever you come across. Speaking for myself, I really don’t need to watch Secret Window or Stranger Than Fiction again. I can pretty much recite the lines from memory.

J.K. Rowling had a different approach. When asked how she managed to write Harry Potter as a single mother with a small child, she answered simply that she gave up housework.

I mentioned this to my husband once. He pointed out that I already avoid housework like the plague. It’s true. I loathe the whole business. But letting the cat hair and dust bunnies pile up doesn’t help me write. Quite the opposite, because I beat myself up for not cleaning, just like I do for not writing.

Which brings me to the real distraction from writing, not the never ending “to do” list or time sucks like TV, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The real enemy comes from within. It’s the little voice that says we’re not good enough, that we have nothing to say or that what we do have to say isn’t important. I always imagine this voice coming from a goblin face on a doorknob. There’s a huge, very interesting, arched door at the end of a hallway. Behind the door is my imaginary world, but in order to go inside and play, I have to get past that hateful, nasty, and downright mean goblin. I’m afraid of that goblin. If I put my hand near him, he might bite me. If I stand and stare, he’ll shout mean things until I give up and slink away… probably to go watch some bad TV.

And that’s the real secret. The other distractions are just tricks the goblin uses. I watch mindless television because I’m procrastinating. Why am I procrastinating? Because I’ve listened to the venom the goblin spews in my ear.

So what’s the answer?

Just do it. That’s the answer. Just write. Ignore the goblin. Who made him a literary critic? If he was so smart, he wouldn’t have gotten imprisoned in a doorknob in the first place. So what if the floor needs to be vacuumed? The floor (and the cat hair) will still be there later. Captain Jack Sparrow will still be there too. I can always watch him on DVD, free of commercial interruptions.

There the secret. Ignore the goblin. Ignore the TV, ignore the housework. Don’t ignore children if you have them, but give them something to do so you can focus on your writing. Do whatever it takes to get yourself at that keyboard and write. Listen to the old sneaker commercial and Just do it. Start now so when you are able to write full time, you’ll know how to ignore the goblin and all his crafty tricks.   

 Jessica Zellman was raised in northeastern Pennsylvania where she
developed a love of animals, classic rock and tales of things that lurk in
the dark. She been creating her own stories for as long as she can
remember and is often inspired by music.

Her first novel, Odonata: City of Night was released on February 7th, the
anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the US.

Jessica lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and various pets,
including two fluffy cats and a loud mouthed parrot.

Odonata: City of Night can be purchased in all formats through Lyrical Press: or Barnes&