Making Time to Write When There’s No Time

juggler-1938709_640Back in October, I think I put many readers in a tailspin over how I manage to run a large farm, and the joys of when things don’t go your way. This month, (on the advice of our fearless leader, Kat) I’ll tell you how I do manage to get words on “paper” when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Without further ado, let’s get to it: Continue reading “Making Time to Write When There’s No Time”

Writing and Real Life: Juggling Your Time

juggling time girl-1940244_960_720I spent 20 years in the military — the U.S. Air Force. And during that time I learned a lot of things. One thing they stressed was time management. When Uncle Sam says a project needs to be done by a certain date, it better be! If you weren’t good at time management, it meant you stayed after duty hours to work on the project. If you had good skills, you went home when everyone else did. Somehow I managed to be in the latter group. Continue reading “Writing and Real Life: Juggling Your Time”

Juggling Books in a Series

When I first got Microsoft Office 2010, I looked over the list of programs included, mentally gauging how useful they might be to me. I stopped at OneNote, which I’d never seen before. I learned that OneNote was a project planning program – a place to put all sorts of disparate things that sort of go together, including pictures and links from the web. I shook my head and moved on. What sort of use would that be?

Then I started writing the Pipe Woman Chronicles – a five-book series.

By the time I started working on book two, Fissured, I couldn’t remember the last name of the bad guy in book one, Seized. I also couldn’t remember what color eyes I had given my main character, whether she owned a condo or rented an apartment, and numerous other details. It had only been a few months between books, but I’m old, okay?

I realized that I needed somewhere to keep track of all the characters in each of the books. I also needed a place to keep track of the credit information for the stock photos I was using for the covers, and a rough timeline, and so on. Ideally, all of that would be in one place, like a notebook. Except electronic, so I wouldn’t have to try to read my own handwriting. And then I remembered I had OneNote. Continue reading “Juggling Books in a Series”


John Barlow
Author John Barlow

I gave up my college teaching job because I was sick of trying to juggle a regular job with writing. It wasn’t so much the lack of time, because I never worked very hard at teaching anyway. It was the lack of big blocks of time, the long stretches of uninterrupted time needed to write. In fact, my first published book only got finished because I got a three month sabbatical from work. If only it could be like this every day, I said to myself…

So I made it happen. I ditched the teaching job (and the generous pension scheme, the free laser printing and office supplies, the free secretarial support, phone and internet access, shit, shit, shit…) and moved to Spain to become a full-time writer. At last I would have days full of nothing but ‘the work in progress’, interrupted only by a stroll in a tree-lined park or a cafe con leche on a sun dappled terrace…

Okay. So, eight years later and I’m still here. And I’m still more or less a full-time writer, if you count being a now-and-then translator and literary dogsbody-for-hire. This was my schedule yesterday: Continue reading “Juggling”