AS strange as this sounds, it seems I had more time to write when I had a full time job. I retired on May 31 after 26 ½ years as an air traffic controller. The first 2 books were written in their entirety while I was working full time. After I retired, I spent the first month editing book two. (Title to be announced soon) At the request of an agent, I changed the beginning—it made for a much better story by the way—which also meant I had to make changes elsewhere in the document. The result is a much-improved story that is guaranteed to thrill its readers.

Now that’s behind me and I’m working on book 3. But I don’t seem to have enough time. I mean, with all the other things to do…you know, things like checking my sales figures, emailing, book promotion, marketing, and social networking. Talk about time consuming. Twitter here, Facebook there. Goodreads. LinkedIn. BookTrib. Kindle Forum. Peroozal. BranchOut. Writing this blog. BAM! Another day shot with nothing to show for it.

Sure, I’ve made a little headway on plotting the next story. Ideas are in abundance. It’s tying them all together that’s proven difficult. Well, kind of. It’s tying them together and being able to knock you out of your chair that takes time. I don’t want to just thrill you; I want you scratching your head, heart pounding in your chest, and shouting “HOLY CRAP! I didn’t see that coming.” Reaching that level of plot twist proves more difficult…for me anyway.

But still, all those other things are demanding my attention. (See paragraph 2) Now throw into the mix, working with an editor, cover designer, ebook formatting, press releases,….you get the drift. Plus book signings, festivals, and an appearance here and there. Now there’s no time left to write.

Time management never seemed so difficult before—when I had less time on my hands. Of course, if the U. S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management doesn’t get me a paycheck soon, I may very well find myself seeking employment elsewhere. I know their job must be tough…BUT I NEED MY $$$$.

Sorry. Really needed to vent.

I have to go now. My computer’s chirping an incoming tweet!


  1. Julia Rachel Barrett on November 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Okay, I am dealing with the exact same thing. Just thinking yesterday that I wrote ten books while working full-time over the space of 18 months and now I can barely crack out one because I’m so busy marketing. Hate it. But what choice do we have? If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
    Yes, bloggers advise us to write the best book we can and let that be our marketing tool, but with the glut of books on the market, if you don’t keep your name out there – without annoying readers – you are lost regardless of quality. It’s a catch-22.
    A real head-scratcher. If you come up with a solution, please let me know.

    • Chuck Barrett on December 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      Time management is the big issue. It still plagues me and I’m not working full-time. I have found that I only devote a small portion of my time at the beginning and at the end of my day. That helps. I reserve a block of time everyday strictly for writing/editing my next project and a small portion getting The Toymaker ready for publication.

      • Danielle de Valera on February 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm

        I think that’s the clue, Chuck: putting aside an inviolate section of time for writing and never deviating from this until it becomes a habit. I’m about to go back to the sequel to my Mullumbimby novel, have 40K done from some time ago, need to produce 1st draft material of the next 40K, and the best time for me is that first hour in the morning. Social media has become a monster. If the web died tomorrow and the best minds in the world couldn’t rescuccitate it, I’d buy a case of champagne and hold the biggest party.

  2. Pat Bertram on November 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Yep. Know the situation exactly. I wrote four books in the four years before I got published, and since then, nothing. Zip. Zilch. I’ve written the equivalent of about three books worth of blog posts, articles, tweets, facebook statuses, but there’s no time left for real writing.

  3. Michelle Grogan on November 27, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Wow! After reading this post and the comments, I thought NOT working full-time would guarentee there would be enough time to do all the marketing/social media stuff and still have time to write.

    I am currently a full time Literacy Specialist – my days are filled with teaching students, coaching/training teachers how to teach student to improve their reading/writing skills, creating teacher’s guides for the Authentic Literature reading program I oversee – whew! Are you tired yet? Because I sure am!! I can squeeze in some writing at staff meetings – at least during the ones I am not running myself.

    When I come home, it’s keeping up with marketing/promoting my first self-published book, working with my fiance on our home business, and if I’m lucky, get some writing done on a prequel novella for my trilogy while trying to work on editing/rewriting the second installment in said trilogy.

    I keep saying, if I can stay at home and write full time, I would be able to get so much done!!! I am going to hold onto that dream!! It’s what gets me through the busy days of teaching and planning, through the sometimes overwhelming and confusing moments of networking/marketing, through the frustrations of not being able to write when I want to and when I do have the time, not being able to write because I can’t focus or don’t like what I am producing.

    • Chuck Barrett on December 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      I wish I could say it was as easy as just writing full-time, but that doesn’t solve the problem and in some ways actually creates some more. Each of which is time consuming and eats away at what really needs to get done. Writing!

  4. James Marinero on December 5, 2011 at 6:01 am

    I have the same conundrum. For ‘personal service’ or consultancy work, the rule of thumb used to be 40% of your time for marketing. As you know, book marketing isn’t smooth – there are launch and seasonal cycles as well. Also with marketing – when I launched my first video trailer for Gate of Tears there was a whole lot of writing time lost during production. I find that I tend to save the mornings (usually a clear head) for writing, and the afternoons for marketing.

    • Chuck Barrett on December 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      And I do the opposite. I get up early every morning, check all the social media, sales, emails, etc and take of business up front. Then I feel free to write knowing that anything that trickled in overnight has been dealt with.

  5. Karelia on December 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I always wondered how professional writers handled the demands of writing, publishing, and social networking. I guess it is as difficult as it looks. Thanks for this honest blog.

  6. Yvonne Anderson on January 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I hear you, Chuck! I think it’s unanimous. Time management is a real issue.

    (So what am I doing reading blogs instead of writing…)

    Once we’re published, we need to learn how to add publicity to our list of tasks without losing our focus on the actual writing. And that’s a hard thing to learn. Still working on it, but it’s somewhat comforting to know I’m not alone.

    Okay, enough of this nonsense. Back to work!

  7. Sharon Y Cobb on January 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for this post. I’m glad to have found it in time for the workshop I’m teaching at UNF, Mar. 4 called Marketing Your Books. I’ll share link with my students.

  8. Lynne Diligent on February 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I’m not quite sure how I came across your blog post this morning, but it intrigued me to look up your books on Amazon. They look good, and I just wanted to let you know that I’ve ordered them both. Keep up the writing!

    Lynne, American Expat in North Africa

    • Chuck Barrett on February 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Thanks, Lynne. I feel certain you’ll enjoy both books. Start with THE SAVANNAH PROJECT then move to THE TOYMAKER. It is a series…(Jake Pendleton) and I think you’ll enjoy watching Jake grow from the beginning of Savannah to the end of Toymaker. I’d love to hear from you when you finish them. 🙂 Chuck

  9. Bill Greeves on February 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Although I am still working full-time (as a government employee no less!) I definitely feel your pain. I am very passionate about my writing, particularly my fiction, but it still is very difficult to find a quiet time (and place) to work. In addition to the FT job, I run my own design business, have four very active kids 12 and under and what’s that other thing called…oh yeah…a life! : ) I have found two godsend solutions that do help me though…1) a beautiful, supportive and loving wife is both my biggest fan/harshest editor and 2) the ability to go without sleep!

    • Chuck Barrett on February 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      I, too, have the “biggest fan, harshest critic” but also most supportive wife. She keeps me pushing forward. As far as sleep is concerned–it is highly overrated. Thanks for your input, Bill.

  10. Michel Belisle on May 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Chuck,

    I’m the guy behind the 15 Minutes project you read some time on my blog. I too have a lot of time management issues, especially since last week because for no apparent reason, I sell more stuff so I need to produce more, when ? I love spending time on the Internet and see what’s happening on FB and Twitter, but while I’m doing that, I can’t design anything. So I’ve got a nifty time app on my phone set to 15 minutes for my 15 Minutes project and for online activities I set a realistic 45 minutes. 2 – 3 chunks of 45 minutes a day for online activities is enough for me. Then when it beeps, I just move away from the computer and do something else.

    Of course if your computer is also your creative tool, then it’s almost impossible to ignore incoming messages. So a second computer in a different room (if you can) makes a whole difference. And even that… I’m cheating because I’m answering from my tiny computer in my creative room instead to painting. Oh well, nothing is perfect but all this timing exercise is helping a lot

    As I understood from a previous reply here, I should get all your books and start reading the first one first 🙂

    Thanks for your work and availability online


    • Chuck Barrett on May 13, 2012 at 12:42 am


      Thanks for chiming in. Time management is difficult for us all, and anyone who professes otherwise truly doesn’t have much to do. I, too, separate computers sometimes…one upstairs, one downstairs. NOW THAT”S exercise!

  11. Lauren Claire on July 7, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I’m not even a published author and social networking is eating up my time. I keep trying to tell myself that I can slow the social media down when I build up my followers, likes, and blog hits, but then I realize I don’t have anytime left to actually write! What’s the use in building a social platforming for my future writing career if I can’t actually finish writing a novel?

  12. KJ Waters on July 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I can definitely relate to your blog Chuck! I’ve got fewer distractions but way cuter. Of course I’m talking about my children. I actually have time, just not as much time uninterrupted. Hope you figure out how to scrape more out of your day. I’m really excited about your newest thriller! Keep writing and hope to see you on twitter soon!

  13. Oliver Curran on October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Was thinking of trying my hand at writing a book. After reading this lot, Im not so sure. Is it worth while people, are yous indeed making any money?

  14. Janis Pegrum Smith on November 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Ditto – just completing my first novel with a view to publishing and baulking at the whole publicity circus before me. All I want to do is write the hundreds of stories in my head – I am a writer not a publicist! Didn’t there used to be a thing called marketing that did all this, unfortunately, it is the thing which seems to have been cut back by many publishers in order to cut costs. The joys of this modern age 🙁 technology is a blessing but also a curse.
    Happy Writing all x

  15. Sandra Gore on November 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    The writing of my first two novels was a dream. I didn’t think about anything except letting the story flow. I personally find that social networking gets in the way of my creativity big time. Maybe it’s just an excuse for not writing, or maybe it really does suck my juices. In order to write, I need to limit distractions. Eliminate is more like it. But social media is one huge distraction. And as I write on my laptop and often do quick research or fact-checks, I’m always logged on to the net and thus susceptible to the temptation to check out Facebook, twitter etc. Sigh. Guess it’s called old-fashioned discipline. Social media for limited time, then write write write. If it’s so simple, why can’t I do it?! I MUST be stronger than this 😉

    • Chuck Barrett on November 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      You are so right! It’s takes discipline everyday to keep social networking from becoming a time suck. I try to limit mine to certain times of the day/night and only allot a certain amount of time each check…then back to work. Like now—I’m running out of time. Thanks for your input.

  16. Pauline Conolly on December 5, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Love your anti-spam method Chuck! I am in the same boat as everyone else. At 60 and a bit techno-phobic I would never have ventured into social media except that I suddenly had two narrative NF books accepted for publication and was told by friends (not by my publisher) that I should ‘build a platform’. Now I am on twitter, FB, have a website etc etc etc. and am barely doing any work on my third book! I try to pretend it’s for the sake of my forthcoming books but really I am just addicted. Was always rather lacking in discipline and now all is lost.

  17. Sidney Peck on January 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

    It’s a real conundrum isn’t it? I don’t know of one creative person who doesn’t struggle with this. This seems to be especially true for writers. I’ve tried limiting it, and it doesn’t work. So, I just keep working harder and faster.

    It’s MADDENING! With two blog sites, Linkedin, two Twitter accounts, guest posts, guest reviews, blah, blah, blah, I barely have time to eat. For instance, today I ate “breakfast” at 3PM! Good grief, Charlie Brown!

    Wish I could offer some advice, but all I can say is GOOD LUCK! 😀

  18. Nanci Rathbun on April 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Chuck, I’m in that sinking boat with you, baling water fast and trying to make it to shore. Sometimes it seems impossible, but other times I actually have the feeling that it’s all under control. Maybe I’m delusional! I appreciate your blog and hope the government gets funded today, for you and for my daughter, who works for the US Forest Service, and for all the other employees and retirees who deserve than being the ball in a political tennis match.

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