No Time to Write?

Wickeds are happy to welcome fellow New Englander Penny Goetjen today. We met her at the New England Library Association meeting in Portland, Maine recently. She’s even promised a signed copy of her Maine mystery The Precipice to one commenter on her post. Take it away, Penny!

No Time to Write?profile pic

We all live such busy lives and so often we can’t or simple don’t find the time to engage in activities we really enjoy doing. Our days get filled with everything we would categorize as necessary; working a job, running a business, taking care of our precious children, running errands, maintaining our cars and homes, shopping, cooking, squeezing in doctor’s appointments, caring for our elders, paying bills…well, you get the idea. Many of us enjoy writing but find it difficult to make the time. I used to think of writing as my “guilty pleasure.”

When I set out writing The Precipice, I actually had no intention of publishing a Precipice_Coverbook. The Precipice started out as glimpses of a delightful story that was rattling around in my head during down times. I was just having fun with it while I was driving in the car without the radio on, drying my hair, or waiting for my children during various activities. It got to the point that I looked forward to those times when I had nothing else to think about and the story really started to develop. It seemed to be a culmination of all the summer vacations I had spent in Maine over the years and was morphing into a great mystery. After a while, I thought I should start writing it down because I had so much in my head and didn’t want to forget any of the details. It was time to find time for my guilty pleasure.

It began with a pad of legal sized paper. I jotted down character names, described locations, and developed the story line while waiting outside dance classes, sitting at soccer practices, and hunkering down in my car outside of hockey rinks, the latter of which required starting the car from time to time to stay warm. Once I had filled a couple pads of paper with my scribbled handwriting, I started a file on my computer to compile the notes and actually started writing the story. This took place late in the evening after my children had gone to bed and the house was quiet. I tend to be a night owl anyway, so the timing worked for me. Someone else might choose to get up a little earlier in the morning to fit it in. Apparently I was pretty good at squeezing in my writing time because no one, including my husband, knew I had written anything long enough to be a book until I started looking for a publisher.

The point is that we all have down time that we could turn into creative time, probably the most obvious of which is commuting or travel time, whether we are driving or we leave the driving to someone else. Just be sure to turn off distractions like music and cell phones. Let your thoughts wander unrestrained until your head is full and you’re anxious to sit down and start writing. Squeeze in your creative time consistently and you will be surprised by how your efforts add up.

If you are interested in a murder mystery that takes place in an old New England inn on the rocky, tumultuous coast of Maine, The Precipice is available on Amazon or at In addition, I am offering a signed copy of The Precipice to a commenter on this post. Make sure you leave your email address if you think the Wickeds don’t already know how to contact you.

Yours in mystery and intrigue,
Penny Goetjen

Readers: How have you found time to write, or do other creative pursuits? Are you a night owl or a morning bird? Or ask Penny a question. She’ll stop in throughout the day to reply.

21 Thoughts

  1. I always used the time to read when waiting for my kids. My daydreaming took place when falling asleep, and still does. I would rather read than write. Gram grammyd01 (at) Comcast (dot) net

  2. Welcome to the Wickeds, Penny! I love what you have to say about making the most of spare moments. I can completely relate to waiting for kids at their activities. I keep a notebook with me at all times for just the same reasons.

    1. Yes! A handy notebook is a great idea. Any scrap of paper for that matter! I’ve even used the inside of my checkbook.

  3. Great post, Penny. I also find that when I work on the book every day, it keeps the story and the characters alive in my mind, and I can solve plot problems when I’m hanging out the laundry or driving somewhere.

    1. Good point. If you work on it everyday, it is always a work-in-progress, even if it’s just in the back of you mind.

  4. The Precipice sounds like a good New England read, Penny. I’m already picturing a rocky coast with high tide crashing against a cliff or jagged rock!

    Finding time can be tricky but if we’re motivated enough we’ll do it. Last July through December I arose an hour or more earlier each day to spend that time writing my manuscript. I had a deadline of mid-December, which I met. But I find that even when I’m not in that rigorous schedule, having a small notepad always near is essential for capturing story ideas, new twists to a written piece, or just titles that sound like there’s a story beneath.

    Early morning is my best writing time, so I give myself that time for reading (blogs like this) or writing, then email. The email is more time-consuming than I’d like. When there are work deadlines, I sometimes have to forgo my writing time (sigh)…

    1. Sounds like you are very disciplined and use your time well which is great. Very productive.

  5. It’s really great to have you on Wicked Cozy Authors today! I’m glad you got your book down on paper! I heard a story that Handel wrote The Messiah in three days. I’m guessing it was floating around in his head for quite some time before he wrote it down.

    1. Thanks Sherry. It’s certainly my pleasure. And I’m just going to believe that Handel’s Messiah was floating around in his head for a while. Otherwise he would put so many of us to shame!

  6. Afternoons are my time; after errands, housework, etc. I’m “prewriting’ doing those chores so when I sit down to write I’m ready to go. I have a small notebook in my purse i carry everywhere to jot down notes ideas, plot points, and overheard lines of conversation I steal! Good luck with the book!

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