How I Find Time To Write by Claire Cook

We’re beyond thrilled that one of our all-time favorite authors, the fab Claire Cook, took time out of her uber-busy schedule to participate in International Chick Lit Month. (Hello! Her novel, SEVEN YEAR SWITCH was just released in paperback and and her highly anticipated eighth book, BEST STAGED PLANS will be out on June 7th!) Claire’s giving us the inside scoop on a very apropos subject- her busy life. And just exactly how she finds the time to write (we can all take a cue from her on this one).

Update: CONGRATS TO NINA PRIDDY!  She won a copy of Seven Year Switch!  Thanks to all who commented! And don’t miss out on Claire’s pre-order giveaway with prizes including a Kindle, a Nook and a beach bag full of books! Get the deets here!


I wrote my first novel in my minivan in the parking lot outside my daughter’s swim practice at 5 AM, so I think I’m the poster child for the fact that no matter how busy you are there is always a way to find the time to write.

That being said, I’ve known I wanted to be a novelist since I was a child, and I was forty-five when I finally did it! The truth is that every single day presents you with a really good reason not to get your writing done- your house, your kids, your roots.

So this is how I do it.  When I’m writing a novel, I write two pages a day, seven days a week. My deal with myself is that I’m not allowed to go to sleep until I finish them. No matter what is or isn’t happening in my life, I can find a way to write two pages. I have to paint myself into a corner so I don’t cheat- I write the page numbers down on a calendar so I know on a given day that I have to write say pages 131 and 132. I can finish a draft in five months this way.

It might be a carryover from my swim mom days, but I write early in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. And I don’t allow myself to check email, Facebook, or Twitter before I start writing- they’re my reward for finishing my pages!


Claire Cook is the bestselling author of eight novels, including MUST LOVE DOGS, which was made into a feature film starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, SEVEN YEAR SWITCH, and the upcoming BEST STAGED PLANS, everywhere June 7.

And don’t forget to go to Claire’s website to enter Claire’s BEST STAGED PLANS pre-order giveaway to win a Kindle, a Nook, or a beach bag of books! And find her (after her pages are done!) at Facebook and Twitter.

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33 Responses to How I Find Time To Write by Claire Cook

  1. Gina B. says:

    I love Claire Cook and can’t wait to read this one!

  2. Heidi M says:

    Claire is the BEST! Great advice on squeezing the writing in — it is all about the discipline, isn’t it? Looking forward to BSP!!

  3. Great advice. Self discipline is my weakest point. I have always wanted to be a novelist as well. Only last year at 42 did I begin to write seriously. Glad to hear I’m not the only one!

    Can’t wait to read the new book!

  4. Vinobaby says:

    I am in awe of your discipline. I need to take lessons from you–a year and a half and I still haven’t finished my crummy first draft.

    Congrats on you upcoming book release. I’ll have to check it out!

  5. joanne says:

    Thanks for the inspiration and taking excuses away! I am excited to read your new book 🙂

  6. Jane Cook says:

    I love the ‘reward system’ of email, Facebook, etc!

    Looking forward to ‘Best Staged Plans’!

  7. Jerriann Graff says:

    I love being able to connect with my favorite authors thru facebook and this great site, can’t wait until I get my hands on your latest.

  8. MICHELLE C says:

    i love all of CC’s books! looking forward to her new one!

  9. Melissa R says:

    Great advice! Would love a copy of this book!

  10. Jeannette P says:

    Looking forward to reading your new book!

  11. Susan S says:

    I love early morning too, before anyone else is up – the house to myself – ahhhh. And I am amazed at your discipline, I am not sure I could not check FB or email before I accomplished my goal for the day. But what a great motivator, huh?

  12. Brenda K says:

    Although I’m not trying to write a novel, I am trying to plow through my dissertation, so Claire’s discipline sure is a motivator to keep on writing. If I win her book, I’ll use that as my reward for writing 🙂

  13. Writing two pages a day. That would be a great discipline. I seem to go from feast to famine. I shall certainly try and get myself into a better routine, although I am an owl rather than a lark. The idea of writing at 5.30 in the morning seems insane to me, however, I am more than capable of working from midnight to 3.00am which is much less healthy. Great inspiration thanks.

  14. Jenny Nelson says:

    What a great system — I may have to borrow it for myself! Using FB and email as a reward for writing is brilliant!

  15. Nina says:

    Great advice! Staying away from Twitter, Facebook and E-Mail certainly takes some discipline…but sure does make for a great reward system!

  16. Jennifer Jabaley says:

    Such wonderful advice! You can always find time if you truly want to!!

  17. Nancy Roessner says:

    Thank you for the interesting interview with Claire Cook. It is inspiring. Being persistent has great rewards.

  18. Nina Priddy says:

    Very good interview, I like getting to know authors this way, and I think I like her and i know i’d love her books, I’m going to have to catch up on them!

  19. Kate says:

    Love this post and love Claire Cook. The two-pages a day rhythm is do-able and doesn’t seem daunting like trying to find 6 hours during the day to work on your book. Great advice and can’t wait to read BSP.

  20. Martha Belon says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoying every petite bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  21. Jennifer B says:

    Love Claire Cook! Would love to win!!

  22. Stephanie S. says:

    I’m looking forward to both of these!

  23. Louise says:

    I love the idea of not letting yourself check Twitter or FB until you’ve finished your allotted WC. Early morning wouldn’t work for me – my littles are up and needing me by 6, and FB/Twitter along with my morning coffee help wake me up enough that I don’t – O horror – give the wrong colored bowl to the wrong kid! But I could definitely cut myself off in the evening, after they are in bed. Say, no social media from 8:00 until I have my pages written. Thanks for the terrific idea!

  24. Claire Cook says:

    Thanks so much for all your nice comments, everyone! There are lots of other tips on the writing page at And thanks for looking forward to Best Staged Plans – you can also read an excerpt there, too, or listen to me read it to you!

    Thanks again!

  25. Tiffany S says:

    I’m dying to read this book! I’m impressed Claire!

  26. Kirsten McElroy says:

    I have two sorority sisters writing novels: one is still writing her first draft; the second was just listed on the NYT Bestsellers List and is being considered for a major motion picture. Although, we couldn’t be happier be BOTH of them because we’ve learned just how much dedicated work it takes to write a great novel.

  27. Nancye Davis says:

    I applaud your discipline! I need to work on that! I tend to get side-tracked quite easily and never seem to get anything done! Thanks for the cool giveaway!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  28. free ipad 2 says:

    Great review! You actually overviewed some great news here. I came across it by using Bing and I’ve got to admit that I already subscribed to the RSS feed, will be following you on my iphone 🙂

  29. Sheen says:

    Can’t wait to read this Sounds good!

  30. Linda Kish says:

    I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  31. Jennifer Downing says:

    Seven Year Switch has been on my want to read list for A LONG time, I absoultly love Claire Cook.

  32. Pingback: Claire Cook’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over | Chick Lit Is Not Dead

  33. Pingback: Claire Cook’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over | Chick Lit Is Not Dead

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