Skip to main content

Guest Post: Author Pamela Samuels Young Tells How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job

Earlier this year, I reviewed a crime novel called Murder on the Down Low. The author, Pamela Samuels Young, is also a lawyer. So I asked her to share how she is able to find time to write, while also juggling a separate career.

How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job

I’m often asked how I’ve managed to write four novels while still practicing law. Simply put, writing is my passion. I love creating characters and stories with lots of unexpected twists and turns. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Balancing a demanding day job, my family life and my writing career have required lots of sacrifice and hard work. I’ve done it and you can do it too. Here are my top five tips for writing a novel despite your day job.

1. Prepare a Writing Schedule and Stick to It.

Writing a novel is a daunting venture. You have to commit to making it happen. Plan your writing time the same way you plan your schedule at work. I usually plan my writing schedule for the week on Sunday evenings. Whether you have five hours of writing time or just an hour, plan your writing schedule in advance and stick to it.

2. Outline Your Novel.

You can save a great deal of time by thinking your story through from beginning to end before you start writing. You don’t have to prepare an elaborate outline, just jot down enough to serve as a reliable road map. And don’t worry about hampering your creativity. I’ve never written an outline that’s exactly the same as my final draft. My outline is just the map that gets me going. I always venture off course.

3. Start Writing, Without Rewriting Until You Have a First Draft.

Don’t worry about producing a perfect manuscript the first time around. Just get through a solid first draft of your manuscript. When I start a new book, I make few, if any, revisions along the way. Once I get to the end, then I go back and spend as long as I need (usually a few months) perfecting my prose. The writing is in the rewriting.

4. Use Your Passive Time to Further Your Novel.

Don’t forget that writing a novel also involves thinking about your plot and characters. Even when you’re away from your computer, mull over your story. I often work out plot lines when I’m stuck in traffic on the freeway, in the shower, in the beauty shop or waiting in the doctor’s office.

5. Ask Your Friends and Family for their Support.

Writing is a lonely venture which requires you to be selfish with your time. Share your goals with those closest to you and ask for their support. Also, try to incorporate your family whenever you can. I often write about real places in Los Angeles. Once I’ve completed a solid draft of my manuscript, my husband drives me all over the city to visit the places I’ve described in my book to make sure I’ve described them accurately. It’s always a fun day and it gets him involved in the book.

Remember that writing is a creative process. One size does not fit all. Some of the recommendations above may work for you, some may not. Use those that work and ignore or tweak the ones that don’t so that they fit your needs. Above all, just keep writing!

For more information about Pamela Samuels Young, visit the author's website.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Book Review: The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

When Stella and Tom move to a new home in London, they are sad to have left their friends behind. But soon they have a mystery to solve. Their neighbor's dog, Harry, keeps disappearing. Where is he going and why is he always wet when he comes home? As they investigate the area in the garden where Harry seems to come and go, they discover a hidden tunnel that takes them back to their garden ... almost 100 years ago.

The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis is a wonderful children's book that reminds me of the adventurous stories I read as a child. I saw other reviewers say something similar. I'm not sure what it is about the way the story is told, but it is reminiscent of children's books from many years ago, yet it will definitely appeal to the kids of today.

Stella and Tom have an adventure in the past that leads to new friends and discoveries. While it's a time travel story, it doesn't have a lot of fantasy elements (although there are some moles that act a bit unusua…