Traditional Publishing

Author Charlotte Philby on how to write a novel when you’re really, really freaking busy – Monday November 25, 2019

I have a life that’s messy and manic – hello three small kids and a Netflix addiction – so let me tell you how I did it and got published too. Can you do it? Yes you can!

The late American author Charles Bukowski famously said about writing, ‘If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your gut, don’t do it. If you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don’t do it.’ I say bollocks. I also say that Bukowski clearly didn’t have multiple jobs, several children, mounting bills and a demanding Netflix habit to juggle at any one time, alongside his simmering idea for a novel.

Sure, I imagine for some the writing process is an unconscious purging of literary brilliance that falls fully-formed from their fingers. For the rest of us, it’s a slog. Even for practised writers, writing a book is hard as hell. I say that as someone who spent ten years as a daily news journalist whilst raising three children and simultaneously trying and failing and then trying again – and FINALLY succeeding – to get a book deal.

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