Jodi Thomas Shares a (Writing) Secret

Jodi Thomas presented a seminar called Writing the Best Seller at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc conference this year. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. If you have the chance to hear her speak, she is informative, entertaining, and keeps the audience involved.

I decided to blog about her session, because it is a perfect fit with my What It Takes category here at

There is a lot more to her class, but what struck me with the greatest force were her ideas about time management. At one point, she said, “Show me a writer who writes twenty hours a week, and I’ll show you a future New York Times bestselling author.”

This is the kind of encouragement I like, because there is no magic formula or search engine optimization secret. No tricks, just hard work. My rowing coach in college often said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

Yet, I am cautious about things that seem too good to be true. My inner pessimist immediately worried that everyone would follow this advice and there would soon be another million authors flooding the market. But as Jodi continued to talk, I realized that truly writing twenty hours a week is much harder than it seems.

Jodi recommended using a stop watch to track writing time. She said that when she first did this, she realized she was writing less than she thought. (Blogging and writing emails do not count in this formula, by the way.) Understanding what it really takes to write this much each week is an eye opener. Having a plan helps get it done. Having a tracking system helps ensure accountability.

She also emphasized the craft of writing. I took this to mean an aspiring writer needed to do twenty hours of the best writing possible each week. Quality practice is always better than just puking out words.

How many hours do you write each week? How do you find enough time?




2 thoughts on “Jodi Thomas Shares a (Writing) Secret

  1. Great post! My writing time varies tremendously. When I started writing my first novel (compulsively – 6+ hours per day), I learned the value of rest, breaks, and aiming for quality over quality. My work is better when I write in spurts, and live a little. 😉

    • Thanks for the comment. I think you’re right about the value of rest. Six hours of writing is a lot harder than people might think (though I wouldn’t say no to a six hour block of writing time).

      I’m looking forward to reading In Her Shadow.

      Take care,

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