The Write Place #2: Lee Kelly

Lee Kelly alt photo med resThere was a point in my life where I couldn’t write unless I was at my favorite coffee shop, with iMusic playing an instrumental soundtrack, and a skim latte by my laptop. And I could never just jump into writing: I’d have to “warm up” by spending at least twenty minutes or so checking my favorite websites and scanning social media.

Two kids and two books later, that’s all changed. These days, a straight hour of work is a gift, and so I need to be able to sit down without any warm-up and get started right away. And now, “writing work” is not just writing: there’s promotional stuff to do for the books that have released, blog posts, pitches, not to mention tons of life stuff like doctor and specialist appointments, and school requirements for the kids.

So as you’ll see from the pictures, I live and die by my calendar! Anytime I book an appointment, have a deadline or library visit, schedule a conference call, you name it, it gets penciled into that monster calendar on the left of my laptop. On the right is what I call my “goal list”—my two-column, to-do list that includes personal/family items, as well as writing/publishing-related items that I hope to accomplish that week.

office pic 1office pic 2

The name of the game for me is trying to make that “goal list” happen around the calendar during the hours I get in my office. There are a few hours a week when I have childcare for my seven-month-old while my three-year-old is in school, so those are the blocks when I try to get true writing done. Everything else is accomplished during 30-minute windows where the two kids’ naps overlap, or at night, or stolen in ten-minute increments when my son sets up his own office of cars, stickers and Highlights magazines (see his Lightning McQueen bin!).

Sometimes I feel like life is one monstrous juggle (a fun and energetic juggle, but still!), and so I want my writing space to both account for that and somehow be a sanctuary from that. It’s taken a couple years, but I finally feel like I have a space that accomplishes what I need it to.


Lee Kelly photo high resLee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages. She is represented by the lovely and incomparable Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media. Visit Lee at or on Twitter at @leeykelly.



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