Here are 2 Important Things I Learned While Writing This Book



by Stephanie O’Brien

This is an exciting week for me. My latest novel, Catgirl Roommate, is finally complete!

If you enjoy funny stories about cats (or humans with the ears, tail and mind of cats), and you want to laugh, roll your eyes, and say “I know, right? My cat does that too!”, I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy!

Creating this novel was an interesting challenge, with some big bumps along the road. Today, I want to share two success tips I got while writing Catgirl Roommate, as well as how to use those tips in your own life.


1. You DO have enough time – when you manage it right.

When you’re running two businesses like I am, it can be a challenge to find time for everything.

Clients must be served, marketing must be done, paperwork has to be filed, follow-ups have to be done, and somewhere in the midst of all that, you’ve got to actually create the content you’re selling.

And sleep. I suppose I ought to sleep at some point. That one sometimes gets neglected.

But that time management challenge is one that you CAN meet, if you keep two things in mind:

1. You have time for the things you set aside time for.

If your child broke their arm today, would you be able to find time to go to the doctor?

I’m sure you would. Suddenly, everything that seemed impossible to put off before would become a second priority, and you’d find time to get your child’s arm fixed.

So I invite you to ask yourself: what is it that you long to do, that you want to make more of a priority?

What other activities are you prioritizing over it, that you can cancel, postpone, or spend less time on in order to make room for the thing you love but ‘have no time for’?

And what little bits of time could you slip that activity into, that you previously weren’t using to their fullest extent?

For example, I got through a lot of Catgirl Roommate‘s final rounds of editing by reading it while I flossed and brushed my teeth. Those two activities don’t take much brainwork (though they do make typing hard), so I was able to multitask during them.


2. Your time belongs to you, and no one else.

It’s true that people can purchase segments of your time. But you get to choose how much time you sell, and how much you give away.

I’ve often created obligations for myself where none needed to exist, and assumed that people needed things much more quickly than they did.

As a result, I gave away far too much of my valuable time, stressed myself out, and made it hard to accomplish the things I wanted to achieve.

When your day is booked, your day is booked. You aren’t obligated to add extra activities to an already full plate.

If someone asks you to do something and you say “yes”, then they ask you for more, you have the option to tell them that the lower-priority activity will need to be postponed.

Your time belongs to you. Process demands on it accordingly.


2. If you hit a setback, don’t freak out.

Once upon a time, a laptop bag designer had a thought.

“What if I create a laptop bag that has a compartment for the computer, and I make it so it can unzip itself all the way and spit the laptop onto the ground? Yeah, that’s a geat idea! There’s no WAY this could possibly go wrong!”

You probably guessed it – it went wrong. One day, while I was working as a sighted guide, my computer bag unzipped itself and dumped my laptop on the floor, causing a brief power outage inside the machine.

For some reason, my text editor took that as its cue to convert every single character in the entire document into a hashtag.

And because I’d failed to back it up for an excessive amount of time, I went from being three quarters of the way through the second round of editing, to being back to the first draft.

I was pretty upset, but one of my friends made a good point: the loss of the first two rounds of editing could be a good thing. Maybe the finished product would be even better because of the extra attention.

I wasn’t sure if he was right, though I certainly hoped he was.

So I set to work on re-editing the novel, and sure enough: I caught things that I’d missed the first two times, improved several key scenes, added an extra layer of depth to one of the characters, and created a better book than I would have if the first two rounds of editing had stuck.

So if you hit a setback in your life or business, ask yourself: “What is the opportunity in this? Can I do it again, better than the first time? Did I learn something valuable?

“And, more importantly, have I backed up all my files, so I won’t feel like an idiot if my computer crashes today?”

Have you encountered these challenges in your life?

Have you had trouble finding time for the things you love?

Have you encountered setbacks and wanted to turn them into benefits? [ ]

I look forward to your comments!




Stephanie O’Brien has been writing novels since she was twelve years old and has published three of them on Amazon’s Kindle. When she isn’t writing novels and running her marketing business, she’s usually creating comics, music videos, and fanfiction. If you’d like to get more writing tips, or to check out her books, art, and videos, you can visit her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook or on Twitter.

19 thoughts on “Here are 2 Important Things I Learned While Writing This Book

  1. I’m with you on handling time. These days I always check I’m being realistic about what I can fit in – always asking ‘do I really have time for that?’ and then I make sure I pace myself. Looking for the positive in a negative situation takes some doing though – well done for getting your novel finished despite the setback. And good luck with it! 🙂


    1. Thanks! Sorry I didn’t reply earlier; I didn’t realize the article had been shared here until a day ago, haha. One method I use for making sure I have time for the things I’m booking in is to assign each task a specific time slot – “I’ll work on this from 3:00 – 4:00 on Wednesday, then I’ll work on that from 4:15 to 5:00”. That helps me to know when the day is filled, and when I can fit more in. Be sure to add buffer times between the time slots, in case something takes longer than expected, or you need to go to the bathroom.


    1. Absolutely. We almost always have more control over our situation than we give ourselves credit for. Sure, there are some events that happen outside our control, but I’ve repeatedly surprised myself when I chose to take control of a situation that had once seemed out of control.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch on losing your work like that! I know it’s not the end of the world, but man, that hurts!!

    I love this post! You’re right on both counts, especially the time. People who often tell me that won’t give up TV, the movies, a party, or some other activity that is a “want”, not a “need”. You’re right. If it’s a priority, you will make the time.


    1. Yeah, it definitely hurt! Especially because I’d reached the point where I was seriously ready to be done working on that novel, and I was ALMOST there… and then suddenly I’ve got a few more months of work to do. That stung.

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know you love the post. Almost every time I hear someone complain that they don’t have the time/money for something, I can quickly pinpoint the unnecessary thing they’re spending that time or cash on instead, so you’re definitely right about how people prioritize their “wants” and then complain about not having enough.


  3. Great post! Thanks for timely backup reminder! Re “So I set to work on re-editing the novel, and sure enough: I caught things that I’d missed the first two times, improved several key scenes, added an extra layer of depth to one of the characters, and created a better book than I would have if the first two rounds of editing had stuck.” — Now *that’s* making lemonade out of lemons!

    I just had a very similar thing happen to me, albeit on a much smaller scale. Not due to a laptop crash (literally, onto the floor!) – but a software crash. Word just wasn’t happy at ALL for some reason, and froze. Had to do a hard close, which lost me the entire edit. Luckily the piece is nowhere near book-length!! More like just a few pages. Whew! But like you, after the initial “gahhh!” reaction, I made the re-edit better, I think. Go figure. 🙂


    1. You’re welcome for the backup reminder. It’s a basic and important thing, but SO easy to let slide! But hey, at least we both got some lemonade out of it. Now I compulsively hit control+s every few lines while writing – I sometimes even do it while I’m writing on web pages and forms. The number of times I’ve had to tell Chrome “No, I don’t want to save the web page”, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. We all need one of those once in a while! Sorry for the late reply – I didn’t realize this post had been shared here until yesterday – but I hope you were able to find time for your writing!


  4. I love this! I actually just posted a piece last night about how everyone is “too busy” and might be missing out on things they want to do in life. Good luck on your novel! I have been thinking about writing my own…gotta stop being “too busy” first lol baby steps I suppose!


    1. When I think I’m too busy for a long writing stint, what I do is I say “I’ll set a 15-minute song extension playing on YouTube, and write until it’s over.” Or if I don’t have the inspiration, I sometimes say, “I’ll start writing, write as much as comes to mind, and then stop”. Often the stopping part happens WAY later than I’d expected.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.