Putting in the Work

My weekdays start at 4:30am with coffee and Ed. He and I spend a lot of time together. Mornings, lunch hour at the day job, evenings, weekends.

coffee, cup, macbook
In bed with Ed. And coffee. And snacks.
writing, writer, notes
Writing longhand…a lost art?

It’s a crazy thing being a novelist. The blasted novels don’t write themselves.

I blame the muse for most things. Like not getting enough sunshine, the WiFi bill, the hours with carpal tunnel. The muse and Beachbody. Have you ever heard of them? They sell workout videos, and on-demand workout programs, and workout gear. Oh, and this mindset that you “can’t wish for it, you have to work for it.” It’s so annoying.

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Because I’ve been a religious follower of their workouts (on DVD because WiFi is freaking expensive here) for 4 years now and I’m indoctrinated by their mantras. molestie magna quis diam aliquet, auctor sollicitudin elit venenatis. Donec tincidunt, tortor ac molestie feugiat, sapien tortor dictum velit, vel pulvinar ante odio non arcu. Nam posuere metus eget ligula viverra blandit. Morbi ac congue ex, quis vestibulum nulla. Nulla vulputate mi nec turpis sodales eleifend. Maecenas ut varius justo. Nulla pulvinar, sem id mollis mollis, enim turpis finibus augue, vel tincidunt est justo nec quam. Curabitur elit eros, rhoncus non tellus at, consectetur vulputate leo. Aenean dapibus ante a erat fermentum, sed porttitor nunc aliquet. In vestibulum rutrum leo et aliquet. Suspendisse laoreet tristique diam. Duis blandit ullamcorper risus. Nam aliquet elementum orci in ullamcorper. Maecenas faucibus tortor vitae massa mollis, a venenatis tellus facilisis.

  • You can’t wish for it. You have to work for it.
  • It doesn’t get easier—you just get better.
  • You can do anything for 60 seconds.

The last one is most deceiving. Because you do the exercise for 60 seconds and then you have to repeat it. That adds up—the shortest workout I do of theirs is 27 minutes.

Yes, I time them and count down with the ticker on the bottom of the screen. Don’t judge me.

What does any of this have to do with being a novelist? It’s the same kind of mindset only with writing and words and formatting. I’m even in a writer’s group called 10 Minute Novelists. Did you know it’s possible to write a novel in 10 minutes a day?

It’s true.

Here’s how you do it.

  • Start with an idea or a character or two
  • Find a pen (or pencil or laptop or electronic device with a word processor) and some paper
  • Set a timer
  • Write some words

The great thing is, they don’t even have to be good words. They can be awful, terrible, no good words—the first draft doesn’t care. Shoot, the 27th draft doesn’t care that much either as long as you’re committed to editing later.

And you just keep writing until the story is told.

It doesn’t get easier—you’ll get better. You can sit and write for 10 minutes a day—the words multiply. Your novel won’t write itself—but with some dedication you can write it.

The Calricaraq Series

What are you working on these days?

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