Staying Busy

- by Delilah Devlin

This is what my day looks like.

  1. Ship out critiques to the Rose’s Colored Glasses Critique Group
  2. Blog at NINC
  3. Finish copy edits of Darkness Captured &  hit the UPS store to mail the book
  4. Return to revisions of Beloved Captor, chapters 12-16
  5. Finish chapter 3 of Lone Star Lovers-3
  6. Finish one RCG critique

That’s a pretty full day, and it started at 7 AM this morning. Most of my days look like that, with chores interspersed between the writing-related work so I don’t forget to keep my place tidy.

I plan the work and work the plan.

Of course, I’m damn good at planning work. By profession, I’m a program manager—in the Army and in private industry. I teach project management to writers now.

I hear tons of excuses for why writers can’t find the time to do what needs doing. I know family can pull you away. Kids are unpredictable. People get sick. The washing machine breaks down. The sky is blue and the sun is bright and shiny. All great excuses for why you can’t write.

But somewhere along the line, you must take control of your life and your time. If you want to be a writer, you have to commit to writing. It’s a hard job. Takes tons of discipline. But to be a writer, you have to write. How many projects, how many pages depends on what you want to fit into your life and what you want to sacrifice.

If family comes first, then don’t expect to get a thing done while they are awake and at home. Do what so many successful writers do. Get up before the house stirs or burn that midnight oil.

If the day job pays the bills and take its toll on your energy, then plan to write on your weekends. Try to fit in half an hour on your lunch break.

You don’t have to have big goals (20 books a year), but you do need to set yourself some mini, interim ones. Break up the great big scary goal into smaller increments. Put them on a calendar. Schedule time to get the work done and treat it like anything else listed on that To Do list stuck on your refrigerator door.

And forget about waiting for the muse. Sit your butt in that chair and write. Remember, to be a writer, you have to write. Stay busy!


  1. Hi Deliah! You’re spot on, as always. To do this and be successful, you HAVE to treat it like a job. You have to prioritize it into your day and then hold yourself to it. No pushing it off to tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes, there’ll be another fire to put out, another distraction, another excuse. As a full-time writer, your dedication to the plan is even more crucial – this is YOUR bread and butter. I’m completely motivated by your dedication, your energy and the way that you give back to the community through all that you do with the Roses. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your day and how you get it done!

  2. I can attest to your plan; I’ve implemented it and wrote and submitted my first full novel in about six weeks! So excited!!!
    Since following your lead I blog everyday, visit all my friends’s blogs, and add pages to whatever I’m working on every day, NO EXCUSES. I write 7 days a week, 365 days a year; if Steven King can do it, I can :) Thanks for the inspiration and motivation …

  3. You are definitely an inspiration and a motivator. I set my goal, put it out there on the blog and I’m pretty darn close to finishing the first draft of my second book. Planning and setting goals works!

  4. You’re an awesome mentor and inspiration. This post was just what I needed… a kick in the pants!! Time to put the plan in action. Thanks for sharing and motivating. You’re the best!!

  5. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Writers don’t make excuses – they make TIME.

    I agree with everything. I’m always saying, “There are 24 hours in everyone’s day.” It’s all about priorities and organisation.

    The next time I hear a ‘writer’ make an excuse about the muse not striking, I’ll direct them to this blog post.

  6. I can best stick to my daily writing goal if I don’t check email and get right to work. Once I’m on the Internet, time seems to disappear. It’s important to put writing first on the daily agenda.

  7. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

    Nancy! I do the blog thing first as my morning pages, to get the gears grinding, then it’s on to the writing.