Things I do as a writer that save time.


A comical look at things I’ve noticed – priorities and habits that have changed since I’ve embraced becoming a full-time writer which free up time to follow my favoured craft…

Things I do as an Author Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI don’t waste time putting on a face full of make-up – sometimes I don’t even brush my hair. Most mornings, it’s a shower, throw on some comfortable clothes and sneakers, and then straight to the keyboard. No longer am I in tailored work attire and high heels, coiffed to perfection. I relax in my stretched out jeans and coffee mug permanently sitting on my right hand side. Every day is casual Friday!

Things I do as an Author Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI never have to travel far either. Some very rare days, I’ll write right there in bed on my lap top! No long hours stuck in traffic or squeezed in on public transport wondering who is responsible for that odorous smell or dodging that one man who is staring at you in a completely inappropriate way unabashedly.

Things I do as an Author Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleI don’t get interrupted by people walking past, or popping their head into my office. I’m not continually putting out conceptual fires or managing clashing personalities. I have complete control over my work environment. I can unplug the phone and internet if I so desire. Or lament in a busy coffee shop with the soundtrack of gossip and top 40 pop hits – it’s whatever takes my fancy. I can say I LOVE no distractions! Especially when that muse whacks you upside the head with an anvil and you just have to get everything down on paper as quickly as you can.


Things I do as an Author Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleI get to pick my hours – I can plan my writing around social visits or events. Some days I write better first thing in the morning, others in the evening hours… just as long as I write every day! I have a pretty much set schedule, but on those days when you are feeling shackled in, it is great to scream out the window and do what the heck you want. I could never have done that in an office or classroom. That adaptability definitely helps increase my productive hours writing.

Things I do as an Author Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleI get to leave my desk in a mess – if I’m in a particular point in a piece of writing and need to call it quits for a day, I can leave my desk in a state of what may look like disarray, but everything is set up for ease of access to information. I can simply walk away and come back the next morning and start right off at the point I left the day before. I never have to worry about things being moved, the cleaner disrupting my files. This comes in handy when I nearing the end of writing a first draft or going through edits. I can be a messy worker in those times.

Things I do as an Author Pic 06 by Casey CarlisleLunch can be a quick trip to the kitchen or microwave. I no longer need to go find a good coffee shop, stand in line and find the perfect seat to consume said lunch – plus eating in public, and consuming food with onion, tuna and other odorous foodstuffs were always off the menu in consideration of my workmates. Now I can stick the place up to my heart’s desire!

Things I do as an Author Pic 07 by Casey CarlisleEvery day is take your pet to work day! It has been proven that having a four-legged companion can increase your productivity and lower your blood pressure – and I intend to embrace that whole-heartedly!



Things I do as an Author Pic 08 by Casey CarlisleIf you want to quickly google something completely unrelated to what you’re working on, you can without the internet Nazi’s scrutinizing your browser history (or how much time you spend watching cat videos.) So no time is waisted continually glancing over your shoulder to see if anyone can see what is on your screen, and then madly running through folders to empty your temporary folders… not that I ever indulged of ‘naughty’ internet activity at work ;p

I miss the social interaction and the regular stable pay check, but working as a writer from home, or wherever I carry my laptop definitely has many rewards.

To all you wordplayers out there – Happy writing!


© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Albinos and all their stuff

What’s the most common question I get asked as a writer?

How do you remember all this stuff?

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It’s usually in awe at the wall of folders I have from my works in progress. I keep a folder on my desktop of ideas for novels, characters, scenes… but when I get something more developed, a rough plot, a cast, a more definite outline… along with pages of writing, either the beginning, or a few key scenes – it gets a ring binder and a place on my shelf. I keep all my notes in there, I design a cover and spine. That way my idea feels real. And when it comes time to do some writing on said project, I can pull out the folder and everything I need is contained within.

And when you have over 40 titles on the shelf you find people staring at them wide eyes and asking you – how do you remember all this stuff? How do you keep the characters straight in your head and not mix the books up?

My answer is always very simple. I remember all my friends, and family. I know where they live, I have an idea of their wants and desires, what they look like, their little personality traits and favourite sayings… so it’s just like that. The books and characters within are the same as friends and family. In fact, I probably spend more time with my fictional family, because they live in my head more prominently, I go on adventures with them. We have conversations. They might change or grow up even before I put words on paper.

The human brain has such a capacity for learning and remembering, why does it always seem like a shocking feat to remember the books I’m writing – or even the books I’ve read?

I guess for someone who is not in the habit of writing books, or reading a lot for that matter, easy recollection of fictional facts seems almost like science fiction. Like you are some sort of genius. So when they get over the realisation that I’m not hiding away in a dark room with over a dozen cats writing erotic fiction for my own fancy, and actually see the scope and effort I put in, something grinds and crunches in their heads that I must be the re-incarnation of Albert Einstein himself.

How does their brain take the leap from some mousey, unattractive shut-in with sexually deviant tendencies to a crazy haired genius after entering my office? Surely there is a somewhat more modest middle ground?

Albinoes and their stuff Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgI think writers are much like albino animals – rarely seen in the wild, perceived as odd, weird, or magical, but on the whole, (apart from the propensity to get sunburn) no different to the regular coloured masses. I’m beginning to learn that the general public’s assumptions of what a writer is, is so vastly different to what I actually do. It’s up there with astronaut or vascular surgeon – it sounds impressive but we don’t know the ins and outs of what they actually do every day. (Not that being a writer is as important as an astronaut or a vascular surgeon – just that they are job titles not many know details about) I’m frequently launching into the mechanics of writhing and the publishing world for friends and family. Their notions that I sit at my computer for a few weeks, churn out a novel and then send if off into the ether to be transformed into a book on the shelves of stores is completely naive.

I spend a lot of time writing, and with the characters, worlds, and story acrs that I write; so why wouldn’t I know them by heart? If I was in any other occupation, wouldn’t I know all the intricacies of that job too?

So, I guess I have to embrace being some albino animal as well – though it’s not too much of a stretch having pale skin, red hair and freckles – where people come and stare in stack-jawed intensity when they discover what it is I really do on occasion. But on the most part, I just get on with it.

Though I always get surprised at some of the frequently asked questions – I mean, if they thought about it, even only fleetingly, the answer is so obvious I may as well slap them in the face with a rubber chicken…

In fact, I may do just that.

Albinoes and their stuff Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle



© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mental Clutter and Writing

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

There are some days, no matter what the state my house or study is in, I’ll write like a madwoman possessed. Forgetting to eat and only taking necessary breaks to visit the bathroom. I end the day in a misty haze and sore hands. That’s in my manic state. More often than not I require the bed to be made, the dishes done, my desk clear and just a few scattered notes on my outline to accompany me on my writing day… only because of all the mental clutter. Distractions, random thoughts beckoning me away from what I am meant to be doing. (Don’t get me started on the evils of Youtube and Tumblr.)

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Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

I find making lists keeps my head clear and on point. But they are short and realistically achievable in a day.

In the days when I was fierce about my career in Film and Television, I’d thrive on days of unprecedented tasks. The overachiever in me loved a challenge. My brain and limbs would crackle with nervous energy and the day would literally pass in a blink because I was so consumed with my work. I love that feeling. The amount of work you can get done. But it is not realistic or sustainable, especially in a creative role. Plus, completing such a high volume of work also takes impeccable organisation and time management. These days I have a toned-down version – simply because I like to enjoy my life a bit more, explore the outdoors and feed the muse. If I really wanted to, I could lock myself away and write until bleeding from every orifice. But then I’d have to deal with the crash. The writing hangover. And I’d be no good to get the edits, marketing campaigns, query letters, and all the stuff (which takes up just as much time and is essential after writing ‘the end’) that comes next.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

There is so much more to writing a book than writing a book.

So I like to keep my house, my workspace, and my thoughts organised. I have folders galore. Excel spreadsheets. Goals stuck on the wall in front of my face. It works for me. It leaves me feeling fresh and ready to take on the world in the mornings. Because writing is a long-term endeavour – for me anyway. I give myself small daily wins and keep my eye on the finish line.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle


If I don’t maintain the tidiness of my work desk at times I feel claustrophobic or headachy. Psychosomatic symptoms of trying to juggle too many things and keep on task.

When I lived in the city, I loved my white, sparsely furnished office, with a massive workbench to spread out on. Now in the county, I love the view from the mountain top to the coastline. It says anything is possible. Sky’s the limit. Yes it’s cliché, but having so much space just outside my window lets me expand my mental musings into the never-ending sky.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

I’ve come up with some of my best ideas watching the clouds roll across the lush green landscape. It’s calming. It’s inspiring. Now I understand what people say when purporting that nature is fodder for creativity. I’ve also noticed, the lessening of technology aids in my writing productivity. No television, internet, phones and other devices. It’s me and the blank page. Pen and paper or the keyboard and my word processor. Simple. Something about that state calls to me. Urges me to fill it with words and ideas.

Granted the finish line will always keep moving. Because, lets face it, there is always going to be the next book I want to write. It will be that way until I die. And that’s okay.


© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Clean Your Office – Spring Clean Your Brain

My workstation was starting to become overgrown with work and novels, and it was hard to concentrate on my writing. However after de-cluttering my work area my concentration was suddenly razor sharp.

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I wasn’t getting writers block, just feeling a little stunted and claustrophobic while working due to the piles of books and scattered piles from the many projects currently on the go.

Maybe my biggest problem is tackling too many projects at once – but that is something I’ve always done and not a trait that will ever change, so I simply need to create a space and method to maximise my need to multitask.

That means, a very organised diary, and a bookshelf full of folders.

About once or twice a year the organising gene must slip into remission and everything becomes cluttered. So it becomes time to spring clean…

An added heath benefit means you eliminated dust particles and any possibility for mould to develop (not to mention sneaky little spiders and other insects that love to hide in your papers). I know that makes me sound like a slob, believe me I’m not. It’s just that if I wiped down every book, every bookshelf, moved furniture about to get in the hard to read spots; and wiped over electrical cables… well it would take all day.

Spring Clean Your Office Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe psychological benefits are infinitely better. It creates a sense of a job well done after the effort I expended to beautify my place of work. The elimination of clutter also removes distraction and gives me the room to think.

So last week I undertook the bi-annual declutter event. And the results are as expected – I’m back on the productive train again!

This event has become even more important recently – only because since moving from Melbourne, where I had a custom built workspace and library, to a small cottage while building a new home. My workspace consists of a small table (dominated by a computer) and one small bookshelf. The rest of my bookish belongings are in storage or organised in easy to get to containers and boxes. Believe me, I can’t wait to get a decent sized room again and set up a library.

Sometimes organised chaos works for me, but when I hit a point where I couldn’t type another word because of that claustrophobic sensation, I revel in the task to make the place feel brand new again.

How do you work best when writing? Do you have a clean and clear spot, devoid of distractions; or love the action around you and work in a coffee shop? Do you surround yourself with inspiration or face a blank wall?

I’d love to hear all of your methods to coax prose from your grey matter…

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.