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A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Expanding his focus now, Kenneth Atchity adds a substantial new chapter, "Breaking into Show Business," and new material about recapturing the "high" of creativity and maintaining confidence despite setbacks. He shows you how to transform anxiety into "productive elation," how to separate vision from revision, and how to develop your own writing agenda.

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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1986)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  160 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Dee Arr
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-guide
Near the end of “Write Time,” author Kenneth Atchity includes a list of “rules” to help with creativity. These rules include a mixture of writing tips and basic thoughts on successful living. I found it insightful that he included as his final rule (concerning everything he had written in the book) to “Ignore all rules that don’t prove useful.” He then explains that everything he has offered are suggestions, and that we should take what we find useful and discard the rest, simplify anything that ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

He stresses the importance of organizing and planning – physically and mentally.

The best piece of advice, I found, was how he expounded on the idea that writing time should be for writing – not for thinking of what to write. You can think anywhere – in the shower, on the train, eating, etc. – but when you have butt in seat, fingers to keyboards, you should already know what you are going to be writing about, not sitting there dazing off into space trying to decide where to start.
Rachel Pollock
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
I enjoyed the insight this gave me into techniques for structuring books which writers used prior to the advent of digital tools like Microsoft Word, scrivener, and other literary programs and applications. The author's philosophy about how the creative mind works was less useful, a bit goofy and self-indulgent, but perhaps that's just my own disinterest in how he chose to approach describing and discussing the creative process.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher

In this foundational guide to the writer’s mind and productivity used by thousands of writers worldwide since its original publication...called by the New York Times "the on writing," Dr. Atchity shows how the detailed steps of the creative process interface with the writer’s greatest asset, time, to provide both creative success and peace of
Wes Locher
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: authors
Kenneth Atchity has released a good reference book for would-be writers. I can best sum up the goal of this book with the following sentence: "For people who want to write, but have too many excuses as to why they can't."

Not being one of those people, I didn't take a lot from the motivational side of things, however, the author has good suggestions for time management that will help people prioritize and get started on that novel that they've been dreaming about writing. In the end, Atchity just
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This version was published in the 1980's and while it still has some valid information - but it is not geared for the computer age.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended.

Full of useful and original tips about productivity, though it also deals with the basic elements of a commercially successful story and how to navigate the book and film businesses.

Written by a successful film producer, literary agent and editor, this book is well worth ones time.
Denise Wallace
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a writer I found this book to be very inspirational! The author's wealth of experience in the film industry also provides an experience for the reader that money can't buy!
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Since I've decided to write a book, I'm reading several books about "how to write" as well as taking classes. The first 5 chapters of this book were "recommended reading" by the instructor of my current class. Honestly, I was bored to death! If you want to know how not to write, try reading this book! There's something to be said for K.I.S.S. and unfortunately, Achity doesn't follow this school of thought. His style is so full of convoluted, academia-laden crapola that to make sense of most of i ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, owned
This book is a mix of both attitude and craft. I'm still not sure how I feel about it yet. Atchity talks a lot about managing how you think about writing; how to avoid negative emotions about writing, or how to turn anxiety into what he calls "productive elation." This sounds like so much frou-frou when I describe it, but it's important to understand that almost every single writer I have ever met is just a bundle of nerves, and so much of writing is winning the mental game of "sitting down in f ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Very informative, although a bit dated (he talks about word processors like they're new, hip technology, as indeed, in '95, they were). He has very clear outlines to set writing goals and set up a time-management system that prioritizes writing. He goes over fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting, but overlooks freelancing (if you want a book on freelancing, anything by Robert/Bob Bly will serve you excellently). Overall, this book was very helpful, and now I have a clear --and not overly ambit ...more
Miki Marshall
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any writer
I can't really say when I finished reading this book, because I keep reading it over and over again. If you're looking for a book that gets you in touch with how your mind works and how to apply that effectively to a writing project--and getting it done!--then this is a book to read ... over and over again.

You've probably already read from other reviews how he goes about it, but I found his analogies very productive tools to working with, rather than against how my creative mind works. His time
Jess Schira
Despite starting this book several times, I couldn't get into it. Something about the writer's style and voice irritated me.

Jul 27, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: _They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God_ fn4.18
from page 82 of They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God:

The author was helped to understand the value of writing to quality and effective preaching upon reading A Writers' Time: A Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision. Though the book is written from the perspective of helping people write to publish, the insights about persuasive and effective writing, and the setting forth of methodology that leads to persuasive and effective writing, are an invaluable and immediate help fo
Feb 22, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2014
Much to my surprise, I realized I'd never read a single book on writing fiction--just criticism and theory. I came upon this in Cool Tools (now there's a toy box in book form) and the description of the author's card system intrigued me. While I'm not impressed with the actual writing--the prose or the organization--I was very interested in the perspective and intend to explore more in this genre.
A.M. Bochnak
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Parts of this book were great and other parts (most actually) were seriously outdated. I also found the authors analogies a bit confusing and weird. If you've never read a book on time management or book structure, you might find this book helpful. But I am of the opinion there are much better books out there. It was a lot less about time management and much more about book structure and the writing/publishing.

Giving it 3 stars because it wasn't bad, just not what I was expecting at all.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you ever thought of doing some serious writing, this is a great book. (Not that I've done serious writing, but it seems like it would be a great book.) A really thorough "how to" guide, it covers everything from story structure and development, how to approach publishers, and even how to organize your desk. Maybe antiquated with all of the changes to the publishing world these days, but probably many nuggets of gold in there still for the aspiring author.
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Atchity's book caught my eye at the library, and I found it inspiring with its meld of time management techniques and creativity theory.

He has an interesting system that I'm game to try, involving casting a wide net by collecting bits of a book-length project on index cards, then culling and sorting them, then writing a first draft based on them, etc. The book is somewhat dated but sadly I got most of the 80s references.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Hugely helpful and inspiring as I tackle my novel project. Atchity tells writers what to do, definitively and gently. He makes your project seem possible (inevitable, really) and outlines the habits and habits of mind that will bring you to publication, whether through traditional or independent means. I keep playing sections back as I write my daily quota and map the story. Phew.
Cathy Carpenter
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
This book was frustrating. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 were quite helpful, and there were a few other good bits peppered in, but the bulk of it wasn't really about time-management for writers, as the jacket says. I also didn't click with his metaphor of "the continent" and "the islands," and it grew tiresome.
Mickey Bell
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the main things I took away from this book was his idea to finish every day by writing half a sentence which you can pick up the next day and 'hit the ground running'. i still do this. it's very

hehe, just kidding.
Tom Britz
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some very good tips and advice. The only drawback for me were the seemingly out of place chapters on publishing and writing for movies. Still those chapters had some well thought out and valuable suggestions. Over all this was a good book for the beginning writer.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
The time management information is by far the best. The other parts are useful, especially for the beginning to intermediate writer, but I skimmed a lot of that.
Stephen Antczak
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A great book on writing, if a little outdated in some ways. Up there with Screenplay by Sid Field and On Writing by Stephen King.
Caterina Fake
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just the section about the index cards makes this book valuable. Also, vacations.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal
I agree with this, but not enough to make the time I should
Oct 16, 2016 added it
SO insightful and the way this guy organizes his thoughts.
Perfect timing for me.
Eddie D. Moore
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book has many useful tips and lots of encouragement! I can tell already that his advise is sound and I look forward to putting it to use!
Mark Flanigan
rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2017
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Kenneth John Atchity is an American producer and author, who has worked variously in the world of letters as a literary manager, editor, speaker, writing coach, brand consultant, and professor of comparative literature.

At home among the many worlds of communications and storytelling, he was labeled a "story merchant" by a visiting ambassador to the United States.

Atchity was born 16 January 1944 in
“Discipline, not the Muse, results in productivity. If you write only when she beckons, your writing is not yours at all.” 0 likes
“Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness and The Healing Heart, divides the human race into “positive” and “negative” people: The positive people work miracles, accounting for the evolution of human performance. I add another division, productive and nonproductive people: those who can do things and those who only talk about things (especially talk about why they can’t do things). As far back as I can remember, I was determined to contribute something, to be productive, and I’ve always questioned those who—though they may know much—go through life without making a mental contribution to the species: “If I live, I ought to speak my mind.” Productive people have a love affair with time, with all of love’s ups and downs. They get more from time than others, seem to know how to use time much better than nonproductive people—so much so that they can waste immense quantities of time and still be enormously creative and productive. One of my favorite examples is John Peabody Harrington, the great anthropologist of the American Southwest. At the time of his death, Harrington’s field notes filled a basement of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and several rented warehouses in the Washington suburbs were needed for the overflow. Yet Carobeth Laird, his wife and Harrington’s biographer, called him one of the greatest wasters of time she’d ever known—and said he felt the same way about himself.” 0 likes
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