Hello everyone! As some of you know, I recently got a full-time job so that I can (hopefully) continue to eat while writing. Since, I know that many other writers are in the same boat with their labor of love and little pay, I thought I’d write down some tricks I’ve learned to make sure that I write, while still making it to work on time.
Value the Sacred Alone Time
Since I work at the same place as my dad, he thinks that he can not only call me in all the time, but also that I now understand how tired he is when he gets home. This usually results in me being asked to do things after my shift, such as grab the remote from across the room, get him a bowl of ice cream, or take the dog out for a walk.
This isn’t a bad thing, and I love doing things for my dad, but considering that I get off work at 8:30 and go to bed by 10, I can no longer be an effective writer owl.
The good news is that due to my schedule, I can wake up early every morning and get some writing done before I go to work at noon. This makes me cranky since I hate mornings, but I’ve also been surprisingly productive because now I know that if I don’t value the time I have before my shift, I won’t have any time at all.
Prioritizing is Key
When I first started working, I was really wanting to do a Short Story A Week challenge while still doing my 10-minute writing exercises, and posting to the blog and working on my novel…
It was just too much.
Prioritizing your projects can help save you a lot of time and make you more efficient at your writing goals.
Right now, I’m really excited about my new novel. So, I work on that every day.
I’m pretty psyched about my writing exercises, because it gives me a chance to be creative without judgment while I’m outlining my novel. So, I try to do those each day or every other day.
I love you guys who come here and read my blog, but, to be perfectly honest, this blog is as much an experiment as a project and it’s not a huge part of my writing goals. So, once or twice a week, I try to draft some articles, which I edit between remote and ice cream runs, then post when I have a chance.
Other things, such as the Short Story A Week challenge, got cut from my schedule. Maybe I’ll come back to it, maybe I won’t. It depends on the amount of steam my other projects have.
Know What You Want and Work Toward That
I mention writing goals in the point above this, but I feel it’s really worth reiterating. Writing goals are personal to each writer, and knowing those goals are going to help SO MUCH when deciding how to write around other things in your life. And it’s perfectly fine if those goals change as you go.
There were several years when my goal with writing was to vent my anger and depression somewhere other than my head, in the form of journaling and poetry. There were years where I wanted to be an artist and my writing goal was communicated through comics and collages. Now, my goal is to be a published fiction author and I’m working toward that.
Decide what you want to say with your writing and how you want to say it, then figure out how fast you want to get there. You’ll know what you have to do once you decide.
Realize That Writer’s Block is a Lie and Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
Ah, writer’s block. Sweet, time-wasting writer’s block. There was a time when I cried writer’s block every time I had a problem with my story.
I had a teacher who used to tell me that the time taken to do something is directly proportional to the amount of time set aside to do it. Before, when I had all day to write, I rarely got into the ‘groove’ or got ‘inspired’. At the end of the day, I was left with maybe 1,000 words or no words at all. Now that I have a full-time job, I’ve been super-productive.
Granted, I might still only have a thousand words a day. But, in addition to those thousand words, I’ve also plotted the next scene or act, I’ve done research, and I’ve lined up what I’m going to write the next day, whether it’s a story or blog post.
Having only a certain amount of time a day means that you have to come up with solutions for the problems you face in your scene or draft. If nothing else, it means you’re okay with skipping a scene or two in order to get the words down.
Writing is rewriting.
There is no block.
I want to hear from you! What solutions or revelations have you gleaned from being a writer with a job?