The Mail I Get

I've been getting variations of this email a lot lately, so I thought I'd share my answer to this one here:


 I was wondering about your time management. How long does it take for you to write your blog everyday, and what type of writing schedule do you have, and is it iron-clad? Do you keep a notebook with you in case ideas pop up when you are doing errands, etc.?
Do you have moments when you don't know where your current story is going, and how do you fix that?

Love your books,



I prioritize based on deadlines, Teri. The project with the nearest deadline gets the most attention. Then again, sometimes I prioritize based on money. The project that's paying me the most gets my immediate attention…I mean, I am not going to move a project that's paying me, say, $3000 ahead of something that's paying me $35,000. That said, I've never missed a deadline, even when I had two broken arms, regardless of how much (or how little) I was getting paid.

I don't blog everyday. Sometimes I will blog two or three times in one day…sometimes I will go a week or more without blogging. I use the blog as a way to warm up before writing, or as a way to avoid writing, or as a way to stay at the computer when the writing isn't going well. You can sometimes tell by the nature of my posts how I'm using my blog at any given moment… (well, at least my brother Tod can tell). 

I do carry around a notebook for ideas,  story points or scenes for whatever I happen to be working on at any given time. I never leave the house without a notebook or a book to read. 

What question haven't I answered? Oh yes, I often have problems with my books and scripts. I fix them by, well, fixing them. Often the problem lies not in the scene I'm struggling with but with the bigger story or character point that got me there.

I always outline before I write…so at least I know where i am going and roughly how to get there….but I inevitably deviate from the outline.

3 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. Thanks for the insights!
    I never go anywhere without a notebook and a book to read. I’m reading, “Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop,” and it keeps getting better and better. Really enjoying it!

  2. As an aspiring novelist, one of the main reasons I read your blog is to gain insight into the day-to-day life of a professional writer. I’m inspired by your constant reminders that talent or luck aren’t half as important as being willing to do lots and lots of hard work.
    Thanks for taking the time to write helpful posts like this.

  3. Thanks for sharing this info, Lee! I’m always amazed (and motivated/challenged) by the quantity and consistent quality of what you write. Your blog so often remind me that it’s a job – and the only way to get the job done is to sit down and do it.
    Thanks again!


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