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Some days I wonder if Einstein set out to prove his theory of relativity after experiencing the phenomena of writer’s time:

  1. Suspension in the blissful bubble of the sparkly new idea.
  2. Trudging through horrifically hard scenes or the mire of the middle.
  3. The End…that keeps slipping away.
  4. The Wait after submission, when time freezes.

It took a couple of projects before I recognized the phenomena of writer’s time, and a few more before I learned how to sidestep the traps. The secret to managing writer’s time instead of being controlled by it is to juggle. Yes juggle.

Juggling hands


1. Blissful Sparkly Idea Bubble

You’ve got a sparkly new idea and you’re glowing with inspiration and so caught up in the creative process you’re not aware of time passing. You dance through the prose, and the story all but writes itself. This phase must be what Ray Bradbury was referring to when he said, “You must stay drunk on writing…” because it feels GREAT. The trap is believing that writing will always be this way. If you do, when the euphoria fades and the real work begins, you’ll quit. The secret is to enjoy the blissful bubble while lasts and accomplish as much as possible. This will help you through the other phases of writer’s time.

Creative inspiration


2. Horrifically Hard Scenes and the Mire of the Middle

The blissful bubble popped and you’re face with writing horrifically hard scenes or the slogging through the mire of the middle, and time crawls at a painfully slow pace. Don’t dismay. Every project this phase, to one degree or another. Trust in the process and keep writing. If the muck starts to feel like quick sand, juggle. Pick up another project for a while and rekindle the spark of inspiration. Always remember the quote by Louis L’Amour: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

crawling through the hard scenes

3. THE END is in Sight and Out of Reach

Time fliesTHE END is near, but as you type faster, time speeds up, flying by at a gale force velocity. It’s like being on a treadmill, running in place. Invigorating and infuriating.

You know exactly what needs to happen in your story and what to do to get there. You can taste victory, especially when chocolate is at the end of the deadline, but it’s perpetually out of reach. The secret to remember here is that time is an illusion, and in the end (pun intended) the writer always wins! Keep typing.

4. The Wait

You made your deadline with style and grace, but the excitement of sending off your ‘baby’ soon fades. You put your heart and soul into a story and now it’s gone. The Wait to hear back begins. The trap here is allowing yourself to indulge in feeling lost, or succumbing to insecurity and doubt. Don’t do it!

Instead, juggle. Start a new project, or pick up an old one you put on the shelf. Try a new genre. Write something totally different. Write anything. Keep the creativity flowing. If you don’t, you might find yourself in the same predicament as Han Solo, at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Frozen. Insecurity, doubt, and fear are insidious. Don’t give them a chance to seep in. Keep writing. The secret to getting published (again and again) is to not give up!

Han Solo