3 Ways to Preserve Your Author Sanity by Patty Blount

 I hope y'all are enjoying your summer! 

I've been doing this author thing for over a decade now and in those years, I've learned 3 great ways to preserve my sanity, relatively speaking, of course. Allow me to share them with you. 1) Write at a different time. 2) Read outside your genre. 3) Respect your process.

Writing at Different Times

Before I got published, I used to write whenever I had spare time. I wrote during my son's hockey practice, in between drop-offs and pick-ups at whatever other events he had scheduled, or on the weekends, when my husband was fishing, etc. 

After I got published, I had deadlines, so writing couldn't simply exist as a spare-time gig anymore. I had to carve time out for it and with a fulltime job, two kids, and a household to manage, that was no small feat. I elected to give up TV time and spent the hours from after dinner until bedtime with my characters. This worked for our family for many years until 2015, when I got a new job with an hour commute time, each way. 

I realized I was too tired after work to write coherent sentences and it really took a toll on my productivity. Frustration mounted and I had to find an alternative fast or I would start missing deadlines. I began getting up at 5:45, driving to work before the mad rush began. Once safely at my office, I could write uninterrupted and comfortably until 9 AM when my day officially began. 

I discovered this new routine to be extraordinarily helpful. I never considered myself much of a morning person but the quality of my writing proved that false. My work required far less fixing than it used to. Even better, the one hour drive to work allowed me plenty of time to think and ruminate about potential GMCs for each scene. 

Read Outside Your Genre

Another thing I do that helps me escape the ruts I've fallen into is read outside my genre. I spent weeks reading historical romance this year, beginning with the entire Bridgerton series. I've found reading OUTSIDE my genre (contemporary) helps me re-imagine scenarios in it. For example, Bridgerton's Lady Whistledown is similar to Gossip Girl. I also read a lot of Rebecca Zanetti and Colleen Hoover this year so again, I look for ways to mine those stories for ideas that could make compelling YA contemporary stories. Without divulging spoilers, the need to re-imagine Verity as a YA horror has kept me busy. 

Trust Your Process

Trusting your process is perhaps the most critical of the 3 tips. For me, the Doubt Monster always, always, always rears her ugly head when I'm nearing the end of a manuscript. That's when I come perilously close to deleting everything I've written and restarting. In fact, if you've read Some Boys, you'll have noticed the dedication to Kelly Breakey. I've actually never met Kelly; she is an online friend I've known for many years now. While I was writing SEND, I was about to delete it but had luckily tweeted that first. She urged me to send the manuscript to her before I did anything. I did and she provided a much needed reality check. 

That novel went on to become my publishing debut. 

I now know that this temptation to start over is part of my process. It happens with every novel I write. I'm in the thick of that right now, as I just hit about 50,000 words on a romantic suspense project and am embarrassed to tell you how much this book stinks. 

But that's okay. Getting the first draft done is what counts here, not how good it is. The "good" comes later, during the revisions and rewrites. 

Never, ever, ever delete anything. Even when I am sure something isn't working in a project, I simply move it from the current manuscript to an outtakes file I keep just in case I need those words later. I've used deleted scenes from one project in others, I've used deleted scenes as promo materials for published work, and I've used deleted scenes to help brainstorm new ideas. 

No writing is ever wasted. 

Are you someone who hopes to write YA one day? Do you think these tips will help you? Tell me in the comments. What tips do you have for preserving your favorite author's sanity? Trust me, we all want to know. Comments are open! 


  1. I strongly agree with no writing is wasted and finish your draft before ever approaching edit mode.

    1. yes, I ALMOST erased an entire novel, so boy, did I learn an important lesson

  2. BIG yes to reading outside your genre!

    1. I love to read and reading things I don't ordinarily pick up has exposed me to so many incredibly good stories, whose plots and characters make me start thinking, "What if this guy were still 17 and in high school?" and before I know it, I'm no longer blocked!


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