Friday Speak Out!: On the Write Track

Friday, April 18, 2014
by Michelle Parker

I decided that after I retired from my day job I would write a novel. As you know, day jobs can take up all of the leftover time after everyday life. Thus the novel would wait . . . and wait . . . and wait, until three years ago when I got myself on the right track. Don’t wait as long as I did! Here’s what I’m doing to keep on track:

• I am a member of the Parker Writers Group. The group meets for two hours once a month at the Parker, Colorado library. Local authors provide advice and guidance in the form of mini workshops. However, the most important aspects of a regular writer’s group meeting are getting together with other writers to renew the enthusiasm you share and to remind yourself why you call yourself a writer!

 • I ride the RTD Light Rail. For those fortunate enough to live where there is an excellent public transportation system, you may find some writing time during your commute to your day job. Make writing a required activity each day, just like feeding the dog or brushing (and flossing) your teeth. The most important reasons to write daily are to keep your dream alive and the creativity flowing.
• I write even when I don’t feel like it. Writing can be like exercising. You don’t really want to go for that run or climb onto that stationary bike, but once you are five or ten minutes into it, you feel good about yourself. The most difficult step is the first one or two. Well, maybe the first twenty or thirty. The first few words (or sentences) might be tough, but just get them down and before you know it that good feeling will ignite you. You may have to backspace over those first few sentences, but there will be keepers, really good ones.
• I tell all my friends and family that I write. So many people know that I write, that I am frequently asked, “So, how’s that book coming?” Make a commitment to your friends and you’ll finish your novel. Trust me! They will keep asking you when they can read your book!

In a year I will retire from my day job and begin writing full-time. Until then, my trusty laptop and I make our daily commute to downtown Denver. Share how you find the time and/or what you do to keep your commitment to write every day.

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Michelle E. Parker grew up in Santa Barbara, California, where the story in her first novel, More Than Thoughts, takes place. She currently makes her home in Parker, Colorado with her husband, John, and their Boxer dog, Otis Campbell Parker. 

You can visit her website at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Michelle--I've found that "going public," and proclaiming on your blog (or facebook page) that you're writing a book/revising a book/thinking of submitting a manuscript. Your friends and writing colleagues will then hold you accountable and you won't be able to back down/set it aside you're tempted to.

Unfortunately in St. Louis we don't have great public transportation. I wish I DID live where I could ride a train/subway to work. Not only would I have some writing time, but the people-watching opportunities (that might lead to some interesting characters in my writing) would be valuable as well.

Thanks for the post.

Margo Dill said...

Sioux: Before I read your comment, I was thinking the same thing--I wish I could ride the subway. :) The grass is always greener. . .

I think having a critique group is the best--just this week I put everything else aside and finally revised the beginning of a novel I want to send off soon because I had to have something to my critique group. For me, it's prioritizing and I often prioritize my projects last.

Unknown said...

Great ideas, Michelle! I particularly like the way you've publicly committed to writing - both in joining the writer's group and in telling your family and friends about it. For me that was the hardest step. But boy, it sure does give you a feeling of legitimacy to tell people that you're a writer - and a sense that you'd better keep producing!

Marcia Peterson said...

These are great, useful tips and I feel your enthusiasm! As for the last tip, now you've declared your intentions even more publicly. :) Good luck with all of your writing.

Anonymous said...


You are right about the people watching. There are plenty of interesting people to observe.

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