Writing When I Can: Guest Post from YA Author, D.G. Driver

{guest post} Writing When I Can By D. G. Driver as part of her From Earth Day to Arbor Day blog Tour

Earth Day book

I wrote my first novel while in college. It took most of the four years to finish it because the only time I had to write was on weekends and school breaks. It was the late 80s, and I didn’t own a computer. My dad brought home a lap top on the weekends. I would write pages on it, then he’d take it back to work and print my pages for me. Slowly but surely the pile grew until the book was finished.

For a graduation from college present, my parents bought me a word processor (not a computer) so I could write. It was quite a device. I could only see four lines at a time on the tiny screen and it had three fonts: courier, italic courier, and bold courier. It had no hard drive, so I had to save all my work on floppy discs. Yep. It’s true. And believe it or not I wrote five novels on that thing as well as a dozen or so short stories, some songs, and three plays before I finally bought myself a real computer in 1997.

During all that time I wrote pretty frenetically despite being an actress in touring theater, a singer with regular gigs, and eventually a steady day job as a teacher. Oh, and despite the boyfriends who required some attention too. How did I do it? I learned how to write when I could. If I had a minute, I’d write whether by hand or on my ridiculous typing machine. One of my middle grade novels, For a Speck of Gold (now out of print), was written completely by hand in notebooks while my students were studying in the after school tutoring program where I worked at the time. Sometimes they’d gather around me and offer me ideas.

When I had my baby, everyone told me I wouldn’t have time to write. Wrong. I wrote while she napped or while she played quietly by my feet. Thankfully she was an easy baby. I was under contract to co-author 5 non-fiction books about classical composers at the time. I had no choice but to make it work. Later on, I wrote the original draft of my YA novella Passing Notes on a yellow legal pad while my daughter took swim lessons. Large portions of my YA novels Cry of the Sea and Whisper of the Woods were written during my daughter’s dance and piano lessons. I actually miss those chunked out times now that she isn’t in private lessons anymore.

Cry of the Sea

Oddly, now that she is nearing 15, I find I have less time to write than ever. She can’t drive yet but is in a lot of after school activities, so I have a lot of extra driving after work when I’d normally go straight home from my job to attack my current WIP. By the time I get home now it’s time to start cooking dinner. I like to try to give my family attention too, so I don’t feel like I can hide in my office all evening every evening. I sacrifice writing time for them. On top of it all, I have books published that need publicity, and social networking is addictive. Some nights I have to make the choice of whether to use my precious time for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts, blog posts, or writing new words on my current book. The book usually loses. Part of my brain thinks, “Why write the new book if no one is buying the old one?” while the other part knows that “more people will be interested in the Juniper Sawfeather series when it’s complete.”

Whisper of the Woods

I’ve learned how to maximize my time when I write. For example, on the third Juniper Sawfeather book, which I’m writing now, I did some initial research to decide what environmental cause she would be fighting, what mythology I would use, and where the story would be located. I plotted the book and then began writing. Nowadays I research as I go. When I hit a point in a scene where I don’t know what should happen, I look it up. For example, I had to stop writing to look up exactly how a person would test ocean water for pollutants. Once I had that info I kept going with the story. Today I was researching what the courthouse in Olympia, Washington looks like. I got the description and went one with my writing. This, for me, is the only way I can keep moving forward without getting bogged down to the point that I can’t write at all.

Sometimes at work I still write down notes of ideas on slips of paper that I take home with me. I create a lot in my car while I’m driving (or sitting in the high school parking lot) and try to get it all down as soon as I get home. I also make word count goals. I try to write 1500 words in a sitting before I allow myself to get up. These are tricks that work for me as a busy working mom. I confess I kind of miss my stupid word processor with no internet, because I could really focus on the craft and nothing else. I’m also really looking forward to when Caylin will be driving herself a year from now, but until then I’ll keep figuring it out and hopefully have a third book in this series ready for everyone by early 2017.



  1. G. Driver has been a published author for 21 years, which she finds hard to believe. She originally published her work as Donna Getzinger, and has several award-winning, critically acclaimed nonfiction books under that name. She now writes as D. G. Driver, her three books Cry of the Sea, Whisper of the Woods, and Passing Notes are all published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books. Her Middle Grade novel No One Needs to Know will be out later this year through Schoolwide Inc. She is a member of SCBWI Midsouth and lives near Nashville. When she isn’t writing, she’s teaching or occasionally singing in a local community theater musical (yes, that takes time away from her writing too).



Blurb about the Juniper Sawfeather Novels:

Juniper Sawfeather is the teen daughter of environmental activists with an ability to discover mythical creatures during her attempts to protect the natural world. In the award-winning novel Cry of the Sea she strives to help real mermaids caught in an oil spill from being exploited or killed? In Whisper of the Woods, while trying to stop the logging of Old Growth trees, she finds herself trapped 170 feet up in one by an ancient tree spirit that is unwilling to let her go or allow anyone to save her.



Website: www.dgdriver.com

Blog: www.dgdriver.com/write-and-rewrite-blog






Buy Links:

Cry of the Sea

Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IM0JF06

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/409843

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cry-of-the-sea-d-g-driver/1118708060?ean=9781612357867

Lulu (for print) http://www.lulu.com/shop/d-g-driver/cry-of-the-sea/paperback/product-21464813.html


Whisper of the Woods

Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Woods-Juniper-Sawfeather-Novel-ebook/dp/B017V3F53K

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/59227

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whisper-of-the-woods-d-g-driver/1122938359?ean=2940157794323

Lulu (for print) http://www.lulu.com/shop/d-g-driver/whisper-of-the-woods/paperback/product-22442498.html

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