I have author Helen Buckley here to discuss tips on writing when you have very little time to do so.
Strictly on Ice
When falling in love comes with the risk of falling flat on your face …
Former Olympic skating champion Katie Saunders is well known for her ‘ice queen’ persona in the press. On the face of it, perhaps Katie should have forgiven her former skating partner and ex-boyfriend, Alex Michaelson, for the accident that shattered both her ankle and their Olympic dreams – but she just can’t seem to let it go.
When Katie reluctantly agrees to take part in a new TV skating show, it’s only because she’s desperate for cash. What she didn’t count on is the drama – not only is she partnered up with infamous love rat rugby player Jamie Welsh, but one of the judges is none other than Alex Michaelson himself.
As the show progresses, will Katie be shown the hard way, once again, that romance on the ice should remain strictly off-limits?
Although I now have two published novels, I still consider myself a newbie to this whole writing game. My first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published October 2019 and my second – Strictly on Ice – has just been released. It’s a dramatic, thrilling and fun romance about sporting stars and second chances!
I only started writing in 2018, when my husband and I were dealing with infertility and I needed an escape from the emotional turmoil we were going through. I am now so lucky to have two lovely sons by IVF treatment. My eldest has just turned two and my youngest is four months old. All through IVF, pregnancy, and motherhood, I have kept on writing. When my days are full of nappies and nursery rhymes, tantrums and toys, writing gives me something that’s just for me. It helped keep me sane when we went into lockdown a number of times in the past year.
A lot of people say to me that they would like to write a novel, but they don’t have the time. Well, since having my first son I’ve written four novels and I am half-way through the next. And I can tell you, it hasn’t been easy to find the time with two needy little ones to care for.
Let me clarify this – I don’t have childcare. My sons don’t go to a childminder or nursery, and I don’t have family nearby. If I want to keep writing, I have to be utterly determined to carve out the time and use those precious few minutes wisely.
You can do it too, if you really want to.
Here are my rules for writing when you have no time to write:
1. Your phone is your friend
I note down ideas and notes constantly and email them to myself so they don’t get lost. So many of my ideas would have gone astray or been forgotten if I didn’t have my phone constantly to hand.
2. Sleep is for the weak
That’s right! I have only been able to write because I have gotten up at the crack of dawn or gone to bed late, forgoing sleep when I have needed it the most. Trust me, it’s worth it to see that word count creep up.
3. Forget about a perfect time or place
There’s no such thing. I don’t have an Instagrammable, envy-inducing work space. I have a stained laptop that makes its way around the house with me. You’ll find me in the kitchen stirring steaming saucepans and tapping out edits. Or hiding under the bed covers in the middle of the night so the light of the laptop doesn’t wake the baby. It doesn’t matter where or when I write, as long as I can get the words on the page.Be obsessive
When you aren’t writing your novel, think about it constantly. That way you are always coming up with ideas, snatches of dialogues, character traits, new scenes. So many chapters have been written in my head while I walk the baby round and round in the rain trying to get him to nap, or while I am in the shower forgetting whether or not I have used conditioner. Then see point one above – get those ideas to yourself as quickly as you can so you can expand on them later.
4. Don’t be a perfectionist
Write what you can, get the ideas on paper, and don’t worry if it’s total gibberish. That’s what editing is for!
If you write quickly and roughly you will be amazed at how much you can bash out in ten or twenty minutes. The word count goes up. The novel takes shape. You can go back and make it better later, trust me on this.
5. Find a friend
Finally, find a friend who supports you in your writing, who checks in with you about your word count and motivates you when you feel like writing is an impossibility. You can always get in touch with me! I would love to hear about your writing journey. I’m on Facebook – Helen Buckley Author, Twitter – HelenCBuckley, and Instagram – helencatherinebuckley.
Get in touch, and good luck!
Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019.
She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance, and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan, and chocolate addict.
Follow Helen on social media to find out more about her work or to get in touch: