Monday, June 2, 2014

Keeping the Spark Alive During the Workweek by Suzie Johnson

Susan Diane Johnson
Do you work full time, away from your writing? Hey everyone, Annette here. I remember the early morning energy as I turned on the copy machine and opened the window shades. I imagined the plot twists I'd throw into my manuscript as soon as I got home. But by the time I was free to write, my mind and body were too weary. Ever happened to you? Suzie Johnson is here today to share some tips for feeding your creativity during the workweek. Enjoy!

Keeping the Spark Alive During the Workweek
By Suzie Johnson

Many writers work full-time at another job, including myself. I wish I had words of wisdom regarding time-management, but I don’t. I need those words myself. What I hope I can speak to is creativity and how not to lose it.

A day job can kill your creativity, even if it’s one you love.  And I dearly love my job. But because of the kind of work I do, it emotionally exhausts me to the point that I don’t always feel like writing when I get home.  What I’ve learned the hard way is that one day away from your manuscript turns to two days and then ten. Before you even realize it, you’ve lost the spark that fueled your imagination and writing becomes a chore.

Writers must write every day, even if it’s just a sentence, a paragraph, or an idea.

The most important thing I’ve learned is to not put off writing down ideas as they come to me. I might think I’m going to remember the brilliant scene I dreamed while I was sleeping, or the sparkling conversation between my characters that I thought of while I was in the shower, but I won’t unless I write it down as soon as I wake up or as soon as I’m out of the shower. I’ve lost more ideas by ignoring them, so I’ve learned to keep a writing tablet by my bed for just this purpose.

Obviously I can’t write while I’m working. So how do I handle it when I have some burning idea during the work day?  That same writing tablet I wrote on when I woke up or after I showered, goes everywhere with me. The very instant I get a break, I jot down enough of the idea that I won’t lose it.

I’ve become a thought collector. The very act of putting the ideas on paper keeps my thoughts alive during the day, and helps me look forward to the time I can put everything into my document. It helps keep the spark growing so my manuscript can stay alive.

And if I can’t type them in until the weekend, I’ve usually collected plenty of thoughts during the week so when I sit down at the computer I have enough ideas to keep that old nemesis called writer’s block as far away as possible.

If you lose enthusiasm for your manuscript during the week, I encourage you to make it a habit to become a thought collector. 


Susan Diane Johnson is the author of two contemporary novels, True North, and No Substitute. Her first historical novel, Sweet Mountain Music, will be available in May. Susan is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a group blog by Christian woman and for Christian women. She is also member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and National Cancer Registrars’ Association. During the day, Susan is a cancer registrar at her local hospital and lives in northwest Washington with her husband and their naughty little cat. They are the parents of a wonderful grown son, and hope to one day become grandparents. You can contact Susan through her website (below), or at


True North
True North by Susan Diane Johnson

Several months after a tragic accident that claimed their son, Lisa and Joe Kendall's marriage has fallen apart. Lisa prays every day for Joe to come back home so they can grieve their loss together.

Their marriage isn't the only thing suffering, and Joe is forced into taking time off so he can find "closure". Unsure where to spend two weeks, Joe decides to go on the Alaskan cruise they were supposed to take with their son. The last person he expects to see once the ship is well under way is Lisa, who hopes two weeks alone with Joe will help restore their marriage.

What she doesn’t know is that Joe has already decided the best thing for Lisa is for him to be out of her life.