Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Friend - Debra Parmley tell us how to make time to write

Please welcome today's Friday Friend, Debra Parmley

Debra was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Springfield, OH but has lived in the Memphis, TN area since 1997. She attended Marywood University in Scranton, PA and was the first student to win first place in two categories of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Beta Epsilon Chapter writing competition, in creative prose and in informal expository. Her poetry was published in literary journals while attending college. She holds a BA in English Literature.

Debra has traveled extensively and worked as an independent travel consultant for several years. She has visited thirteen countries. She has also worked in banking, newspaper advertising, as city recycling co-coordinator, as an office manager, and as a belly dance instructor.

Her first short story, published in the anthology More Monsters From Memphis, was a finalist in the Darrell Awards for best Mid-South short story.

Her first novel, A Desperate Journey, a western historical romance, was a finalist in the Bobbi Smith Creative Writing Challenge. Not long afterward it was a finalist in the American Title II contest. For those not familiar with the contest, she describes it as similar to the American Idol contest, but for authors. Readers voted online and the prize was a publishing contract. A Desperate Journey was published a year later by Samhain Publishing. Debra's second western historical romance, Dangerous Ties,was published Feb. 15, 2012 by Desert Breeze Publishing in eBook and will be released April 2013 in print.

Aboard The Wishing Star, Debra's first contemporary romance, will be released Oct. 11th by 2012 by Desert Breeze Publishing in eBook.
Trapping the Butterfly, set in 1920's Hot Springs AR will be an April 2013 release.

When not writing, Debra enjoys dancing, primitive archery and medieval reenactment, yoga and traveling.

For Debra, writing is about joy. The joy of creation and the joy of connecting with her readers. It is one of her greatest pleasures to hear from her readers.

How To Make Time To Write
How do we find time to write? This is a question that appears repeatedly and one every author must address.
It has become clear to me in the years since I began writing that I don't find the time as much as I make the time. Time isn't lost or found, we get the same amount of hours in each day. It's how we choose to fill those minutes and hours that make the difference.
There's a mantra I tell myself and this is it:
Anything, which is not writing, is not writing.
It doesn't matter what it is, whether it is good or bad, necessary or not, the simple fact is, if you are not writing, you are not writing.
In less than a month, my third book, Aboard the Wishing Star, will be released. This is a book I started back when I was still working full time as a travel consultant. My first draft was written in the spaces between a full time job and family obligations. The last revision was written this year and though I am now writing full time, some of the writing challenges and practices have carried over into my writing schedule.
If your schedule is already full with a full time job, if you are caring for children or an aging parent, it may be challenging to make time to write. Here are tips that work for me when my life is super busy and it seems there's no time to write.
1. Write in between the spaces. How do you fill the spaces in between your scheduled time? Do you watch TV, read the paper or magazines, play games or on the Internet? Track what you spend your time on each day and look for those spaces to see where you can slip the writing in to replace another activity. Writing may not be your first priority if you have a child or aging parent to care for, or a demanding job, but it certainly shouldn't come in dead last if you want to build a career as a novelist. What are you placing first, before your writing?
Remember, anything which is not writing, is not writing.
Can you combine your writing with another activity such as eating lunch? An hr here and an hr there can add up quickly.
Once you establish where your spaces are and what those patterns and activities are and replace them with writing, you may find yourself with a schedule.
2. Protect your writing schedule, your writing time. Now that you know what it is, let everyone who might be affected by it know what you are doing so you won't be disturbed.
If you are writing on your lunch hour let your co-workers know so they will not disturb you and remember this is your lunch hour, your time to do what you choose, even if you are writing at your desk.
Sometimes this does not work and people will not respect the boundaries you set, whether you are at work or at home. If this happens, you may have to remove yourself, go into another room, close the door, perhaps even lock it. Libraries are a good place to write because there is less likelihood someone will talk and interrupt. Headphones can work as well. You may have to lay down ground rules and repeat them until others get used to your routine.
3. Defend your writing time. For many writers this is the hardest part. Something will always come up, that person will want to interrupt you just this one time or just for a minute then they'll leave you alone. It may seem easier for you to stop this one time, but once you do, no one is respecting your writing time, not even you! If the building is not on fire and no one needs to call an ambulance, does the interruption really count as an emergency? Just how important is the reason for the interruption? Just how important is your writing? If the interruption can wait until you are done, stick to writing.
You may have to learn to defend your writing from yourself. If you sit down to write and then think of ten other things you need to be doing first, stop. Just like the interruption, which is not an emergency, those ten other things can wait until you are done.
If it is your writing time, then you must write. That is how professional authors turn out so many books. By making the time to write, setting a writing schedule, by protecting that writing time and defending it.
Be aware of your time and how you are spending it. Be aware of the choices you are making and remember, anything which is not writing, is not writing.

Aboard the Wishing Star - AVAILABLE – October 11, 2012
When Kara's, husband is shot and killed in front of her in what she's told is a random act of violence, she becomes convinced the world is unsafe. Her life is quiet and predictable, until she wins a Caribbean cruise for two and takes along her best friend.
On her trip she meets Nate, a scuba dive instructor and ex marine. He'll teach her to face her fear of deep water and teach her to snorkel. Will Kara learn to trust him with her heart, when she fears this shipboard romance will reach an end and she'll never see him again, leaving her broken hearted?
When Kara's boss shows up at their first port of call unexpectedly, Nate's protective nature comes out.
Her creepy boss becomes more aggressive after she returns to Ohio and when she calls Nate he gets on the first plane. Can Nate rescue her?

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Thanks so much for being our Friday Friend today, Debra, and for your very useful advice. We wish you the very best of luck with your new release!


  1. Debra,

    Thanks for being here with us today and congrats on your upcoming release.

    And thanks for the great advice. I'm in one of those slumps where I'm finding myself with little to no time to write. Your post was a great reminder that I need to make time. I tend to spend my spare time (what little there is of it) reading...what I should be doing is writing my own books instead of reading someone elses!

  2. Thank you for inviting me to be your Friday Friend this week Paula. It's a pleasure to be here. :-)

  3. Debra, thank you! I'm so glad my writing tips are of help! It's something we've all struggled with I believe. Sometimes I have to remind myself of my own advice when the challenges to my writing time come up. ;-)

  4. Thanks for being here today, Debra. Your tips are great. I waste so much time on the little things, rather than writing. I definitely need to buckle down and be more productive!

  5. Great tips, Debra! I slip my writing into the cracks, too. Technically, I don't have time to write books, but I still manage. ;)

  6. Very well put,Debra. I've just scraped a layer of dust from my bedroom because my mother in law is coming to visit but by the end of the year I'll have had three books published in 2012 so I'm happy - dust and all!

  7. Lots of good advice there. I spend many a lunch break banging out words. I fit it in everywhere. It takes dedication, for sure.

  8. I have known that I squander my limited writing time, but your list, Debra, is a solution list. Thank you, and congratulations on your successes!

  9. I'm fortunate in the sense that I'm retired, and my family have flown the nest (even my grandsons have flown their nest too!), so there are many days when I could spend the whole day writing. WHy don't I? Because there's networking nd blogging, and the other diversions that Facebook offers. And also because, out of sheer habit, I think, dating back to when I had a full-time job and family, my 'writing mode' doesn't surface until about 9pm each evening. That used to be the time when I'd finished my work for school the next day (marking work etc| and the children were in bed. It still seems to be programmed into me somehow.

  10. Thank you Jennifer. I think we all have a tendency to do that! Today has been an uber busy juggling day for me, but I managed to get two pages written. Research took a bit more time than I had planned, though it was necessary in this case. :-)

  11. Patty, thank you! That's the trick! It took me a little while when I went from working at a day job full time and writing to writing full time to figure out why I wasn't getting more writing done! It was because I wasn't applying those time management skills I'd learned earlier and because others were not respecting my writing job since I worked at home! It just took some readjusting on everyone's part to set it straight again. :-)

  12. Thank you Angela. That's the way to do it! Dust bunnies and all. :-)
    It's such a joy when it all comes together and the books are done and coming out soon, isn't it? :-)

  13. Thank you Jillian! The first short story I ever had published was written on my lunch hour in between selling advertising and that was a go go go job. :-) Lunch break writing can be wonderful!

  14. Thank you Ana. I had hoped my list would be helpful. Pointing out problem areas can only help to a point because it's only the first step. It's takes the solutions to get us there. :-)

  15. Thank you Paula. Those issues are some of the same issues I faced when I started writing full time in Dec. I really should have had more books finished by now, as I'm past six months into that, but I had to wrestle with those issues as well.
    Sometimes if there is too much time to spend on non writing writing areas it can be a problem too. Researching on the internet can soak up hours fast as can any social networking. I've had to set an egg timer before so I will be reminded to stop! (Especially the researching. I'm heavy into the 1920's right now and it's fascinating, but my book must be done and turned in by Dec. So I must be mindful of my writing pace.) Two pages today. Tomorrow it must be 8. ;-)

  16. You're right about the research, Debra - even looking up the smallest detail can take time and sidetrack you!
    And if I used all my time doing 'productive' writing, I'd be on my 10th novel now, and not my 5th! I keep telling myself that, but don't listen to myself!

  17. Great post, Debra, thank you. I love your point about not finding the time but making it!

  18. Paula, it's always nice to know we aren't the only ones facing these issues and to be able to help each other out with tips and encouragement. :-)
    Thank you!

  19. Thank you Rosemary! I'm so glad it's been helpful! :-)

  20. Sorry I'm a bit late getting here, Paula. What a neat job--travel consultant. sounds like fun.
    Well as an ace procrastinator, I spend a lot of not writing time--usually daydreaming.
    I wish you all the best with your upcoming release.