Gail Sattler

Gail Sattler is a charter member of ACFW, and is the published author of over 30 novels. In addition to writing, Gail is a speaker and workshop leader, and will be leading 2 workshops at the upcoming ACFW conference in Sept, 2009. Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver, BC, where you don’t have to shovel rain, with her husband, 3 sons, 2 dogs, 2 toads, and a lazy lizard named Draco, who is quite cuddly for a reptile. When she's not writing, Gail plays bass guitar for her church's worship team (loud), and outside of church, she plays bass in a local jazz band, and that's loud, too. Gail Sattler is the author of thirty published novels. Coming soon in spring 2010, The Narrow Path, Abingdon Press Fiction. Visit Gail’s website at

Author by Night (or in reality Gail is an Author by Day, Accountant by Night)

Midnight strikes . . . the coach turns back into a pumpkin, and some of us turn into...writers! (Or accountants, if you’re like me and have found a different way to accomplish my writing goals.)

The day job. Sometimes ya gotta have one. Money isn’t everything, but love doesn’t pay the rent.

First priority is paying the rent. But after the rent is paid, then what? Coming home from my day job, the daily commute is the same: sit in endless rush-hour traffic further delayed by construction, and then get caught behind an accident caused by a frustrated motorist in caught in construction. I walk through the door and am met by a starving family who doesn’t know how to cook mac-and-cheese with wieners (please add a salad), then I watch the clock until I have to rush off to other commitments. How can I possibly think about writing?

Writing is my passion. I can’t not write. But when can any of us write in this overwhelming, fast-paced world that takes us for a spin every day?

I like this quote from a television show I used to watch. A writer was struggling to work and write at the same time. His mother said to him, “The ability to become a good writer depends on one’s ability to glue one’s butt to one’s chair.”

I am not a morning person. I cannot get up at 4:00 AM and cheerfully write until it’s time to get ready for work at 6:30 AM. But neither can I write in the late evening, before bed, exhausted after a hard day.

The current schedule of

1. get up
2. go to work
3. come home
4. other activities/obligations
5. write
6. bed/sleep
7. repeat

wasn’t working for me. I had no brainpower left by the time the schedule got to “write.” I write best when I first get up, but I am not and never will be a morning person. I know I am not alone with this kind of inner clock. Therefore, the key is to make a schedule that fits the kind of person I am.

This would work:

1. get up
2. write
3. other activities/obligations
4. go to work
5. come home
6. bed/sleep
7. repeat

Getting up at 4:00 AM to write wasn’t working, so the answer was to schedule this to a later time frame. Which meant, don’t start work at 8:00 AM. Start work at 8:00 PM. I am fortunate to have a day job where my boss allows me to take my writing seriously . . . or he is polite about humoring me. I was able to transfer my day job to the night shift—graveyard shift—which most people (read nonwriters) cannot understand. While this is a serious life-altering change, it’s not so strange. It’s just a switch so that when most people are sleeping I am working, and when most people are working, I am sleeping. Other than that, there are no changes. I am still home in the evening to do those “other activities/obligations,” but now that I can sleep before I write instead of work before I write, I have more brainpower, and the writing is getting done.

To all you writers who have a full-time job besides writing, working graveyard shift may or may not work for you the way it does for me. The key to writing is finding a good time, large blocks of time, to glue that butt down, when you are alert and able to concentrate. That may mean making big changes if your current schedule isn’t allowing you to write the way you know you can. Think of what you can do to make the writing work, then be willing and prepared to do it.

Happy writing.