Girls Write Out
Thursday, February 23, 2006

What do you DO all day?
Writers always want to know how other writers spend their day. The answer is really quite mundane I think, for most of us. But if anyone cares, here's an average writing day for me.

7 a.m. Wake up, put on makeup and clothes. If jeans fit, it's a good day.

8 a.m. Kids go to school with Dad. Ah, peace -- fool around on email and answer letters, interview requests, etc., for an hour. Make coffee, or wait for hubby to bring it home if he's going into town.

9 a.m. I start to write. I generally write between 2k and 3k per day. At this time, I'm getting the gist of what my chapter for the day will be, and it has a lot of false starts, and there's a lot of hyper emailing with my writing group while we procrastinate, I mean, brainstorm.

11:30 -- Go pick up my daughter from kindergarten.

12 to 1 -- Lunch with Elle (daughter)

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Edit the morning's work. Elle chatters in my office, and plays with dolls, or watches a movie.

3 p.m., My husband and three boys come home from work/school. They play outside, and I finish up the day's work.

4 p.m. Watch mindless TV until 5 p.m.

5 p.m. Dinner

If I'm on deadline, I actually write at night too. All laundry/cleaning, etc. is done in ten minute increments. I get to a spot where I'm useless, and so I clean something while I think of where to go next. I can't clean when the family is home, it's a mental thing. I also have to have a clean house (with the exception of my office, which is always a pigsty) to start writing. There's a lot more "busywork" to writing once publishing is on a cycle. There's interviews/editing/brainstorming the next book. It really does fill up an eight hour day plus, very quickly. The hard part is when you're not making enough, you really have to fit it in around other things. When my kids were young, from 1 to 3 was "Mommy Time" and once they stopped napping, they had to keep themselves busy during that time so I could write. Also, I have MS, so sometimes, I am just not here brainwise, on those days, I've learned to cut my losses and relax, because sitting at the computer will only frustrate me. As I said, it's a boring day, but there it is.
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 11:30 PM  
  Comments (14)
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At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Georgia said...

Hi Kristin,
I'm glad you wrote this, because I was curious about how you accomplished so much with 4 children. I mean, FOUR children! I only have 3, and I don't get quiet time until after 10:30, sometimes 11:30-midnight if my husbands feeling chatty. Out of curiosity, how much time do you actually spend writing vs. writing-related activities?

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Kath said...

Hi Kristin,

Very very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I wondered if I contributed to any inspiration moments for this post yesterday? LOL It really does help to see how other authors do it. Especially when you are dysfunctional and disorganized as I am!

You mentioned having MS? I didn't know that. Have you known about it long? My feet are slowly and very painfully crippling due to a birth defect and I am so grateful God called me to write!! It's a perfect way to spend my time.

Now to get past my immediate obstacles as far as babysitting my grandson (although that sure is a sweet obstacle and he does take good naps) and my struggle of how to keep a household running and clean without putting an 8 hour day into it!!

Thanks again for sharing.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Hi, Kristin!
Thank you for sharing. I think people not-in-the-know assume writers live glamorous lives. I like how you do housework in ten minute spots. I do mine in fifteen. Avoids burnout that way :D

I care for children and write in ten or fifteen minute segments while they're doing an activity that doesn't require my attention. I'm so thankful God wired me to be a multi-tasker! Otherwise, I wouldn't get anything done!

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

I would say my writing time vs. extracurricular stuff is half and half. I used to write in fifteen minute increments like Lisa when my kids were young. I have the kind of brain where I can stop midsentence and come back to it. I'm glad I write, because it's not good for much else.

I've had MS for 20 years. That's another good thing about being home, outside lights, chaos, etc. bothers me. So I'm a good homebody for the most part.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

I'm not kidding, but I always thought that writing should be this gloriously solitary activity done while gazing out at the sea from my second story home office. (Not that I have one. I saw that in a Chevy Chase movie--anyone recall the name? I don't.)

Anyway, I quit my full time job when my son was born, and pictured myself caring for the little darling while quietly writing away the day. Yeah, right. Now I know better, and your post confirmed that life with kids, plus writing, make for often frenetic days.

Good thing we love what we do though :-)

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous alisa said...

I dont think its boring one bit. It sounds like a great day to me. If only I had a family or keep up on writing. :)

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Kath said...

This has been an overall very very encouraging blog!! I feel better. I watched our youngest son graduate from home school in 2004. I was ready to start living that dreamy life expressed here so well (I'm at least 1,000 miles away from the ocean!!). The first few months I sort of just "lived". It was tough not having a fulltime teaching job anymore and I had a difficult time saying goodbye to the noise and craziness of motherhood as our youngest also moved out.

I wrote a little - here and there. Then, lo and behold, our oldest son and his wife come up pregnant and when baby arrives she cannot afford to stay home with him - yet. So, guess who they asked to babysit? Yup - Grandma A!! Me!! So, of course, I said yes. I mean, what else could I say looking into those big blue eyes and those plump rosy apple cheeks??? And, it's only temporary anyway. And, surely I can write while he sleeps, right? Well - he's four months old now. I still have not written a full chapter in my novel. Shame on me.

This past week the Lord gave me a big nudge - and told me to get busy writing. No matter what. So, I am obeying. The scripture He gave me was Ezekial 3:3-4 - where it says "Human, eat this scroll" and "tell the people what it says". You have to read the whole passage to understand the impact this verse had on my life. This was one of those God-moments that don't happen every day. I knew without a doubt that He said "Read EZekial" and I thought "Why?" and the rest is history. Anyway, thanks so much for all the honesty about your days and how we all (most of us anyway?) struggle to find the time to write. Life does go on and that house on the seashore remains quite elusive to most of us.

I'm thankful for all my writing "sisters" - that means YOU!

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Okay, I explained a typical day. Now I'm going to describe today. The big highlight was when the UPS guy came and brought my son's shoes. I played on the Bachelor message boards, because I just cannot concentrate, and I popped cheese crackers and iced tea.

I did finish a chapter, but I'm waiting for Colleen to tell me if it makes any sense.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Kath said...

Oh Kristin, your personality sounds a lot like my own. I have a tough time concentrating. Very tough time.

I just think it's awesome that you live a "regular" chaotic life and can still fit in writing. Praise the Lord! There's hope for me now.

Smiles - Kath

At 3:37 AM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

DANG! You rock. You're so disciplined. With kids, no less!

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Rhonda Gibson said...

Hey Kristin,

Jean Kincaid says to tell you she's reading WHAT A GIRL WANTS and laughing her head. She would like to know how many books you write a year? and is chicklit the only genre you will contine to write in?

She thanks you for traveling with her today...

Rhonda and Jean

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Chick lit is my natural voice. I just see that world that way, so yes, as long as it continues to sell, that's what I write.

Of course, chick lit has evolved, and I hope to continue to evolve. The simplistic storylines are a no go these days. But the humor is always key, and I think humor is fairly easy for me because I am just one of those people who finds things funny.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Oh see, I forgot to answer a question. You confused me! : ) I normally write two books a year. In the past two and a half I've done six because things just worked out that way, but I'm not working at that pace. Two books a year from here on out. : )

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Jennifer Mykytiuk said...

Two books a year from here on out?!!! How will I survive the dry spells when there isn't a new book out?!! I may be a SLLLOOOOOOOWWWW reader, but I'm not that slow. I see a bleak future of reading 7th grade essays ahead of me.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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