Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mystery Writer and Forensic Analysts Asks the Question: When do you find the time to write?

When do you find the time to write?
Sheila Lowe, MS, mystery writer and forensic handwriting analyst

It’s the question people frequently ask and which drives me crazy (trust me, it’s a short ride). The next time I think I’ll respond by asking, “What do you do for a living?” And when they tell me, I’ll give them a knowing look and say, “When do you find the time to do that?” I’d like to think there would be dawning understanding on their face, but that’s probably unrealistic. Unless someone is an entrepreneur or in the creative arts, people in general don’t seem to recognize that what we as writers do is work and “finding time” for it is not an option; like any 9-5 job, it’s a requirement.

I’m lucky enough to have two careers. Handwriting analysis and forensic handwriting examination
still pay most of my bills and will probably always be my day job, but I’m working toward fiction writing taking on a bigger share of the burden. Looking back at January, which was without question, the busiest month I have ever had, work-wise (praise the handwriting gods!), it’s true that I did not get much time to work on my latest WIP. Court dates and my testimony cannot be postponed because I need to write another chapter. And when a woman calls with an urgent need to know about the potential for danger in the handwriting of a guy she’s seeing, it’s hard for me to say, “Sorry, you’ll have to wait.” Juggling all the moving parts can be a bit of a challenge.

I saw an article whose title suggested it could help one find time to write. No doubt it would have been an interesting read, but I decided to use the time I would have spent reading the article to do some actual work. Of course, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time I use daily on emails and Internet. I’m working on my self-discipline by not leaving Facebook open all the time (I find all those little “dings” letting me know someone has commented irresistible). Now I just check in from time to time and post a lot less. Same with emails. Have you ever noticed how they proliferate—the more you answer them, the more you get! Answering them less frequently seems to cut down on the pile waiting in the in-box.

It’s all about setting priorities, I suppose. For anyone serious about their writing—that is, trying to make a living by writing books—it can’t be a matter of “when do you find the time?” There has to be time (I know, I’m preaching to the choir, here).

My latest photo is posted with this entry. In connection with an interview I did for the Daily Express, a UK newspaper, they sent out a photographer who took 234 photos. This was the one I liked. Sad, isn’t it?! Needless to say, it’s not the one the Express used. Why do newspapers always pick the worst photos? Oh, never mind. That’s a subject for another blog.

For more information on Sheila and her books check out her website at
Follow her on Twitter at @sheila_lowe 


  1. Great post. I agree, Sheila. If you want to write, you'll make the time.

    I've read Sheila's books and I highly recommend the series. You can read the Inkslingers Ball as a stand alone, but I'll bet you go back to read the whole series.

    Pat Marinelli

  2. Thanks, Pat. I hope you're right :-)
    Making time to write #6 right now.