by Lindsey Richardson
Whether you’re working full time at an office or a full time parent, it gets even more complicated when you add writing into the mix. And whether this is your first novel or fourth novel, it’s likely to still be a daily struggle. But that doesn’t mean that it’s at all impossible or a dreadful task.
Let’s face the reality of it: it takes a lot to write full time. And some of us just aren’t there yet, but that doesn’t take anything away from the work we do. As many of you know, I work full time and write as well. It’s been that way every day since I graduated high school.
We’re all at different aspects of our life when it comes to our jobs and when it comes to writing. Maybe this is your first novel, and you don’t know where you’re going afterwards. Or maybe (like me) this is a part of your career that you want to dedicate the time and effort towards. Regardless, I think the overall steps to being successful are the same. Too much work and you’re overwhelmed and frustrated. Too little work and you fall behind and, again, you’re frustrated.
So then how does anybody do it? How do writers work all day (or all night) long and then go home and work more (but on a different task: writing)?
- Time -we’re talking time management and just an overall understanding of the time you have in a day. If you like to look at the bigger picture plan for the whole week. Take a look at when you’re working for your job and then focus on what time you have left to write. Writing doesn’t require a set time. You can write anywhere, but it’s up to you to figure out when works best.
- Planning -plan ahead. If you’re not a big planner, maybe take it day by day, but try to plan your day out. If you set up a plan then you can rearrange it as need be. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished (specifically with your writing) can be moved to the next day and etc.
- Work first, write later -always put your job and your family first. Set your priorities. Sometimes you won’t be able to write when you planned to. Accept that you’re going to need to be flexible with yourself.
- It’s okay to take breaks -there I said it. Take a break once in a while. Heck, if you have to, take a break for a week! If you’re on vacation, enjoy it with your loved ones. If you’re having a stressful day, let your writing wait for tomorrow. You’re going to need breaks from your writing, just like anyone else.
- Set realistic goals -perhaps the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing was set goals. And not just any kind of goals, but realistic ones. If it’s a busy month at work, lower that word count goal. If you have days off raise your expectations. Never be afraid to set goals, even if they seem small or insignificant, because when you’re able to check it off and move to the next one, that’s going to fuel your creativity.
While those five tips might not cover everything, I think that gives you the big picture. It’s definitely not impossible. I know a lot of writers who work and write, and I also know several writers who write full time. At the end of the day if you have a novel you truly want to write nothing is going to hold you back. You’ll find a way to work with the free time you have and get things done. Some days are harder than others, but you have to believe in yourself and the story you’re telling.
Guest post contributed by Lindsey Richardson. Lindsey is a fantasy author who lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats. By the age of eighteen, Old Line Publishing expressed their interest in Lindsey’s novel, Cursed With Power. Lindsey has been both traditionally published and self published.