Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at and explore her website at, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is

The Well Writer

Establishing Time and Space to Write Effectively
by Megan DiMaria

Megan DiMariaIf you want to be a writer, there’s no avoiding the fact that you have to write. And to write, you need time and space to create and complete your project.

People often don’t understand why someone chooses to sit by himself and tap out a story on his computer instead of ____________ (fill in the blank: watching a movie, meeting friends for coffee, taking a walk, going out to dinner, playing a board game, etc).

Remember the excitement you felt when you first tested the waters of being a writer? Remember the sparkling possibilities that dazzled your vision like shiny stars in a dark sky? It seemed so exciting. The thrill of completing that great novel or other writing project was the dream in your heart. Hold on to that dream.

The hard truth is that when you choose to become a writer you must count the cost. If you spend time writing, you won’t be able to do other things that used to occupy your days. The price you pay is calculated in time away from people you care about and hobbies and other activities you enjoy. But if you’re sincere about your call to write, you’ll suck it up and get the work done.

Don’t lose sight of your writing goal. Diana Scharf Hunt, author and time-management guru, says, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” If you don’t keep your eye on the prize (a completed manuscript or articles or blog posts), you won’t maintain the necessary motivation. Most writers will tell you that it’s much more satisfying to have written a book than to be writing a book. It’s work. Period. But it’s doable!

If you’re serious about being an author, establish boundaries and develop good habits. Here are some suggestions to guard your time and be productive:

• If you have a spouse and (older) children in the home, speak to them about the importance of uninterrupted writing time. Ask them to help you be productive by giving you time to write. For example, allow your family the opportunity to clean up and do the dinner dishes so you can get some writing done.
• Get up a few hours before others in your household to put in some uninterrupted time on your computer.
• Shut the door to the room where you write. If you work in a room without a door (dining room, living room), light a candle next to your computer to signal you are working. When the candle is burning, you’re not to be interrupted.
• Just say no. If you don’t consider your writing time to be sacred, no one else will either. It’s difficult to be productive when friends and family are calling to you, both with fun pursuits and the demands of life, but if you need to get your word count done for the day or week, tell them that you have to work.

• Do you work from home? Do you need to run to the post office? The dentist? Want to meet a friend for coffee? Schedule all your errands for one day. Running out of the house several times a week will eat into your scheduled writing time.
• If you can manage it, try to eat your lunch during the first half of your break, then spend the other half writing.
• Use a calendar. Figure out how many words per day you can comfortably write, and mark off how long it should take you to finish your writing project. Track your progress and watch your word count escalate!
• Use a timer to boost your output. If my productivity is lagging, I set a timer for fifteen minutes and write at least 250 words. In an hour, I’ll have written one thousand−plus words.
• Practice discipline. Sometimes you must force yourself to sit down and write. Do it. Even if you write only a few hundred words, write daily.
• Keep your goal in mind and visualize your success. Imagine how it will feel to write “The End.” Visualize submitting your finished project to an editor or agent. Or take it a step farther and visualize your book sitting on a bookstore shelf.
• Set goals and reward yourself. If you write X number of words in an hour, allow yourself a walk around the block or a decadent snack.
• Make writing a daily routine— just like brushing your teeth or drinking water.
• Have an accountability partner. This doesn’t need to be a fellow writer. A friend or relative can check on your progress and help to keep you on track.

To be successful, you must protect your writing time. Don’t feel as if it’s selfish. If you’re called to write, it’s up to you to carve out the time and space to do it. Write on, friends!


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