Here’s How Pam Slim Writes

Here’s How Pam Slim Writes

Reader Comments (44)

  1. It’s always refreshing to hear how other experienced writers deal with issues like procrastination!

    I also especially liked this “I write best in the morning, when the first cup of coffee halo is still firmly over my head. If I get on a roll, I can do well until lunch. Then I get another surge of writing energy about 4pm.”

    It’s so important to get in tune with your body’s rhythms and your energy level and schedule work around them. I find it very difficult to do mundane, task-oriented projects in the afternoon when my energy levels are lower, but I can easily tackle things that involve interaction with a person (client meetings, team meetings, sales presentations, etc.).

    • Ben, you are so right! I used to do my coaching sessions right in my prime writing energy zone, then would try to write late at night. It didn’t work! 🙂

  2. Kelton, Bouncing while sitting on that ball is a highly effective “cure” for writer’s block (think jumping on a trampoline). When stuck, I bounce for @12 – 15 minutes and then I can write for hours! Great for many things like Presence and Public Speaking but particularly for creativity and brainstorming as well. Check Pam Slim and me bouncing here:

    • You have taught me about the power of the pilates ball Cheryl! It makes such a big difference in keeping my neurons firing in alignment. 🙂

  3. I am so happy that I got to read this today. It was ver refreshing to read about writers block in this way. I am going to put a ‘star’ by this so I can read it again, when I rap up my busy day.

    Thank you so much!


    • I am so glad you enjoyed it Tahiera! The biggest thing I have learned about moving out of writer’s block quickly is to physically change what I am doing, aka going for a walk, moving, dancing, etc.

  4. Another great interview! I started using Scrivener last November for NaNoWriMo and I’m HOOKED! I love that you can keep each section/scene in a book separate. Makes it so much easier to avoid going back and re-reading what you wrote the day before. I like to write the entire book before I go back and read any of it. In Word that’s tough; with Scrivener, it’s easy.

    • I have become so passionate about Scrivener since I started using it! I even proposed marriage to it on Twitter, and it agreed to take me on a writer’s honeymoon. 🙂

  5. Love the time management tricks to shake the writer’s block. If I find myself struggling with focusing on the task at hand, I force myself to work for 20 to 25 minutes with a five minute break. Soon I realize I’ve been at it for much longer. If I’m really not getting it, then I’ll freestyle with pen and paper. Seems to shake loose the fetters and gets me motivated.

    ps. Love the office.

  6. In my struggle to become a better writer I’m constantly fascinated by how others get it done. Been following Pam for a long time so this was really interesting to read.

    I’m working on as series of posts about the writing process so I’m curious about Pam’s actual workflow and things like how many drafts of a post before she hits the publish button? Does she use other tools like Scribe, etc..? Does anyone else look at the post for edits, suggestions, …

    • Hi Scott!

      When I write blog posts, I usually just edit them myself, but have a lot of eagle-eyed readers who alert me to errors. I like to create and publish in one chunk of time, rather than go through a huge amount of edits.

      For books, I write the cleanest first draft I can, then give it to my editor (this time with Penguin Portfolio). Depending on the feedback, we can go through many rounds of edits. On my first book, Escape, the day after I turned in the complete book, my editor asked me to cut it by 30%. Surprisingly, it was really easy to do. 🙂

  7. I agree that if you are committed to laying down words, it is important to not worry about how they come out at first. Even if your initial ideas are yucky, once you write them out, better ones will come. 🙂

    • That is so true, and Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird is genius at explaining this process (what she calls “shitty first drafts.”) 🙂

  8. It’s always interesting to see how other bloggers work.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures I’m considering testing out the exercise ball it looks funny but I hear it does wonders for your posture.

    Thanks for featuring Pamela I just recently discovered her blog It’s definitely on the watch list for the 2014 #IBCT.

    • Thanks Darnell! Yes, the pilates ball is great for posture, but also, as you can see in the comment that Cheryl Dolan has on this post, if you bounce of the ball for 15 minutes (with your feet flat on the floor), it will do wonders for you energy, focus and creativity.

  9. Fantastic post!

    I love that Pam sits on an exercise ball. She’s inspired me to dust mine off, fill it with air (needs more), and sit on it. 🙂 Strengthening my core will help me to strengthen my writing skills and breathing. I have a tendency to hold my breath when I write. It sounds strange. But I am so focused on writing that I forget to breathe.

  10. I’ve been a follower of yours for a couple three years I think. Just wanted to pop in to say thank you for being so open about your process and sometimes the lack thereof. I share some of your habits, both the good and not so good, so nice to know I’m not alone. Insert sigh of relief here :-).

    • Hi Cheryl!

      What I have come to discover (with help from other writer friends like Michael Bungay-Stanier) is that the writing process IS messy and unpredictable. By embracing all of it, it helps you to get writing done.

      I used to hope that I would turn into a disciplined, structured writing machine. Now I like the fact that I am a bit of a crazy artist. 🙂

  11. Nice name! 🙂
    Great post!
    Very helpful. I love your transparency and your sense of humor.
    I need to be more obedient to my energy cycle.
    AND keep my desk area uncluttered. Thanks for these reminders.

  12. Thanks to Pam for sharing and Kelton for posting. As a new writer and experienced martial artist, I really enjoyed the interview. I plan to use some of the tips in my own writing. I think I am going to pass on the exercise ball for the time being. If I turn around to quick to talk to one of my sons, I could do myself a mischief. Great interview.

    • Thanks so much Ken! I am so glad you connected with the martial arts aspect. The mindset is going to be SO helpful to you as a new writer, especially remembering back to the early days of your training.

      Pace yourself, focus on the basics, and show up every day. The craft emerges. 🙂

  13. Thanks for such a great interview. I love your list of inspirations (re authors). I have read many of them and agree wholeheartedly with your choices. Bird by Bird is a great read when I need a ‘kick in the pants’ to get back to work. I would also love to have lunch with Brene Brown! With resources like this at hand, I find writing much easier on days when I would rather just go back to bed.

    It is always heartening to hear that successful authors also deal with writer’s block and slow days. Logically, we know that they will pass, but a reminder is welcome.

    Thanks for your openness. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. Now it’s time to write tomorrow’s post!

  14. Thank you, Pam and Kelton, for this interview! I am amazed how many things Pam manages to achieve. 🙂 I would like to hear more about how you deal with the fear of judgement. Maybe in the next interview? 🙂

    I focus on the novelty of the ideas and the craft of writing and when I’am done writing a post, I hesitate publishing it. Then I realise that I am exposed to the judgement of readers who nowadays are very demanding (and they have every right to be considering the amount of information available).

    • Hi Oana!

      One thing that helps me with fear of judgement is realizing that it is healthy and good if some people do not connect with (or like) my writing at all. Good writing has a strong voice, and tends to draw both lovers and haters. So if you realize that judgement is natural and healthy, it helps.

      Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements was really helpful for me too. His “Don’t take things personally” agreement is pretty profound when you put it into action.

  15. Thanks for the great inspiration, Pam.

    FYI, I used to sit on a ball constantly and it made my hip and knee joints so flexible that they couldn’t hold my ankle in place when I was trail running. I fell to the ground twice that summer…hard…on rocks.

    Will visit your website.

    Christine Hueber

  16. what a woman to look up to! managing a business, kids, and personal writing projects and feeling present in all three areas.

    thanks for being honest about your creative struggle, and for the advice on writing and publishing small bits at a time. At the threshold of a new writing project, that’s exactly what I needed to hear!

    • Don’t get any crazy idea that I have it all together all the time Kirsten! I do make a point of enjoying my life while I am living it. 🙂 Keep up the good work – write on!

  17. Hi Pam, thanks for the insights into your writing. I also love Anne Lamont’s book 🙂 I work at Londolozi Game Reserve and would love to encourage you to take the plunge out to Africa and visit us. You will be amazed at how much subject matter there is to write about, as im sure Martha has told you 🙂

    • Rich, I cannot tell you the amount of times I lust over the Londolozi blog. Boyd has planted the seed that I must visit, and I promise I will make it happen! My kids would LOVE it, as would my husband and I. Hope to see you soon!

  18. Thank you, Pamela Slim, for your contribution here: I really enjoyed reading your interview.

    It is great to come across artists with quirks. You get the sense that you are not the only eccentric in town.

    It seems like I have been following your work for the longest time and I am inspired by your literary journey. Cheers.

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