“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Mark Twain, American author and humorist
I’m not sure why people want to know when and where those who write books actually do such a thing, but they do. This question was posed to me during a book-promotion interview in the last few days, in fact.
Based on my limited experience — which includes first-hand knowledge of myself and a couple of other writers, and the reading of lots of magazine articles about still more authors — I can say, with absolutely no scientific authority, that book authors write whenever and wherever it works for them. There’s no magic time or place. They just do what needs to be done.
From magazine articles, for instance, I learned that John Grisham moved from law to fiction by writing one page on his novel per day. One page. Now, he begins a new novel each Jan. 1 and finishes it by the end of June. If he’s still working that latter schedule, that means that, on a quiet street in Virginia, this master of the thriller may be wrapping up a book this very day.
Other articles revealed two popular romance writers have drastically different strategies driven by the conflicting demands of marriage, motherhood and top-tier authordom. One rises well before dawn and once made her writer’s nook in the turret of a Victorian house. Another writes her books in gulps — retreating (to a room inside her home) from family and sometimes even sleep and food to finish an entire novel in less than a week.
Even those of us in much lower tiers of the publishing industry have to deliberately make time to do what we love. I write early in the morning every weekday, often starting with my blog post. It seems to anchor the day. I cannot pull off fiction in the summer, when our house is a beehive of activity, but I can write magazine articles in the middle of the kitchen even when people are zipping about. Years working in a newsroom is no doubt why.
So, there’s no magic to it. If you really want to write a book, you simply have to make time that make sense in your life. Your life today. If you wait for a perfect time, it will never come. If you require a perfect place, it will never be. Just do it.