“When did you have time to write a book?” Author Phil Bolos shares insight.

By Author Phil Bolos, Fiend – The Manifestion 

“You wrote a book?” says Nick as he stares at the computer screen. His expression is one of disbelief and surprise, but suddenly it changes to confusion. His head tilts slightly to the left and he faces me.

“When did you have time to write a book?”

I still laugh when I think of that conversation. Nick’s comments were not unjustified, because, let’s face it, it takes a lot of time to write a book and most of us don’t have enough time to get enough sleep let alone write a complete novel. I’m a middle school teacher with two preps, meaning I have two different subjects that I teach each day. These classes have to be planned for because, as any teacher will tell you, if you go in without a plan you might not come back out alive.

After teaching, I coach for the school. Cross country in the fall and volleyball in the winter. On the weekends, my wife (who is also a teacher and coach) and I work Saturday programs for gifted students. This leaves exactly one day off for doing everything else in our lives. So, when Nick asked, “When did you have time to write a book?” it really made me think.


My journey as a writer began the day that I graduated from Northern

Illinois University. I walked the stage, took my diploma, and went to

a family party. Then, I headed back to NIU with my wife (then

girlfriend) and celebrated college style with my friends. That night,

as we were leaving our favorite establishment, a man in a black trench

coat brushed past me. I don’t know who the man was or where he was

headed, but I will never forget the look, the presence, he had. That

night, a new character was born from one simple encounter.

The next morning, I started writing. I didn’t know exactly what I was

writing, I just knew what I had in my head was something special that

needed to be let out. The writing was going great until a week later

when phone calls started coming in for interviews at different

schools. This was a turning point for me because, as so many people

say when thinking of things they want to accomplish, life got in the

way. Writing became secondary and finding a job and making money

became the primary focus.

For several months, the writing was pushed aside as I interviewed and

sent out more resumes. Eventually, it all paid off and I landed a job.

But, like most teachers who are first starting off, teaching alone was

not enough to maintain a comfortable life. Second jobs and third jobs

kicked in as I tried to bring in enough money to be able to live a

good life with my new fiance and put something into savings. I was

doing alright, but that man in black in my mind kept taunting me,

screaming for me to let him out. I devised a new plan that would allow

my writing world and my everyday world to coexist: sleeping would have

to go.

Not entirely of course, but enough so I could maintain, effectively,

two lives. This went on for two years and then, at long last, it was

finished. My novel was complete and it was ready to be polished and

sent off to the printers. This was another eye opener for me. After

close to a hundred query letters and emails, I discovered that no one

wanted to print the novel. People seemed to love the idea, telling me

things like, “It sounds great, but you have no audience,” or, “This

would be a great novel, but you have to get some backing behind your

name.” What is a young author to do to get into a game where the only

way you can play for the first time is if someone knows you from

playing somewhere else? Publishers won’t take you because you don’t

have an agent, and agents won’t take you because you aren’t published.

A vicious cycle.

This problem forced me to do research, which led me to a lovely woman

named Gayle at a site called 10 Day Book Club. After exploring the

site a bit, I made my introduction and began a peer editing process

that was both nerve racking and wonderful. I received feedback,

actual feedback, that I could use to improve what I had created. I

was introduced to new people who actually helped me to become better

and to move forward in becoming a published author. These wonderful

people, out of the goodness of their hearts, helped the unknown author

with no audience and no backing to his name.

So, that’s my story in a nutshell. A story that is just beginning. As

more and more people ask me how to get published and how to become an

author, I try to look back on my story and figure out how I did it and

what I had to overcome. Sacrifices have to be made, in my case sleep,

and you have to be determined to go back again and again and not stop

until the job is done. But, the key ingredient to making it all work,

is finding the right people to step in and help you when the time is


Learn more about Phil by connecting with him on Facebook: http://facebook.com/philbolosauthor

You can also purchase his novel, Fiend – The Manifestation through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Kindle and Nook.

About 10 Day Book Club

10 Day Book Clubs offer people a chance to tell their story and get feedback. It may be a healing journey or the path to publishing. Join us on Facebook at http://10daybookclub.com and let us know when you're ready to share.
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8 Responses to “When did you have time to write a book?” Author Phil Bolos shares insight.

  1. P.L. Blair says:

    I know what you mean, Phil. I started my first book when I was a full-time (42-50 hours a week) reporter for the newspaper in Sheridan, Wyo. For me (because I’m a morning person), the solution was get up at 5 a.m. instead of 5:30 and use that time – plus the extra hour I usually had over lunch break – and write, write, write.
    Determination will find a way, but time is never to be found. Time is to be seized by the throat and wrestled into submission.

  2. philbolos says:

    I like that. Wrestle it into submission. I like the way you think and it makes me very happy to know that I am not the only person who has trouble with the number of hours in the day. Do you feel that your experience as a reporter has helped you at all as an author?

    • P.L. Blair says:

      I believe it has, Phil.
      First, I think covering everything from courts and cops to local, state and even some federal government to features on businesses and ranchers has given me a broad base of experience. Plus, interviewing people provides an equally broad range of character types … and an ear for dialog.
      On a very practical level, newspaper work instills a work ethic with regard to deadlines – not to mention the habit of writing every day. Newspaper editors notoriously do not believe in Muses – nor in waiting for them to show up before you start writing. “My Muse didn’t arrive” is no excuse for not having a story completed on time.

      • Phil Bolos says:

        I never bought into the Muse idea. My opinion is that if the writing is going to get done, I need to kick it into high gear and burn the midnight oil and push through. My best writing doesn’t come from an inspiration from the outside, but from a desire to do amazing things within. I sent the deadline in my head and it becomes stone with, like you said, no excuse for missing it. What sort of writing do you do now since you aren’t with the paper anymore?

      • P.L. Blair says:

        Actually, I still work for a newspaper – a weekly, The Coastal Bend Herald, in South Texas. But I’m not full time, just contract (which I love for the freedom it gives me). I also write occasionally for Wyoming Business Journal, and I do a regular sf/fantasy column and monthly book reviews for myshelf.com.
        Then of course there are the books. I write fantasy/detective novels – magic, mystery and murder. Huge fun. At heart, I’m really a storyteller. It’s just that I tell my stories in print rather than orally.
        As for the muse – I kind of think she’s a pleasant excuse for those who want to dabble at writing …

  3. philbolos says:

    I am looking to get into the book reviewer game. Any advice on how to do that? I posted interest on it on linkedin and sent a few emails to local papers but didn’t hear anything back.

    • P.L. Blair says:

      About the only thing I can tell you, Phil, is to stay alert for opportunities.
      I kind of stumbled into the myshelf gig when the person who handles that site put out a call for reviewers on one of the amazon discussion groups I participate in.
      Actually, I do have a couple of suggestions … Go to myshelf.com and see if they are seeking book reviewers or columnists right now. If they are … apply.
      Also, if you buy any books through Amazon, you might post reviews of them. I don’t know how Amazon selects its reviewers, but it can’t hurt to have your name out there under some book reviews.
      I think it’s easier to find reviewers’ gigs online than off. Be warned, though, these aren’t paying positions. I do it for the name recognition.

  4. Samir Chopra says:

    Phil, I think I read Ebert write once “The muse only visits while you work.” I think thats’s true.

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