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Tips to Writing With a Full-Time Job

I think it’s hard to have a full-time job and write fiction, but for essays, you need to be in the world.

Sloane Crosley

Writing when you have to support yourself can be tough. Making it big is the dream, but you need to make ends meet in the meantime. Working a full-time job while aspiring to be a published author is hard… really hard.

Now I love my job, I really do. It’s interesting and, most importantly, it pays the bills. However, I love writing more. I would absolutely love my writing to become my job. I’d love to write for a living and have my own study filled with books like Nigella Lawson, where I retreat to write daily. Unfortunately, that’s not feasible at the moment.

One day, I will attain this dream – but for now, I need to work a 9-5 job to earn a living. This means that I have minimal hours in my day to write – which is a drag. I write in the afternoons/evenings, after I get home from work. But it can be hard to find the motivation every day to write.

After so many years, I’ve learned that being creative is a full-time job with its own daily patterns. That’s why writers, for example, like to establish routines for themselves.

Twyla Tharp

I find getting into a routine works the best for me to be as productive as I can be every day. I get up at 6am every single morning – do some yoga to relax myself into the day and I always make sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Then I make the 30-minute drive to work and have to work the entire day, until 5pm when I get to go home.

Now, I often have to work overtime so I get home anywhere between 5:30pm – 6pm, usually more so 6pm. Usually, at that time of night, most people want to destress and relax. Especially when it’s been a long day at work. I will always eat dinner first and relax a little – have a shower and read or watch a TV episode.

I always set aside a time after some de-stressing to write. I have to make sure I endeavour to always write at night, otherwise it just doesn’t happen. I need the routine to keep my days in order and not waste an entire day. Working full-time is hard enough, and I know writing is a full-time job in its own, so my routine is needed to basically juggle two jobs.

I do make sure not to lecture myself or get in a twist if I miss a writing day though. There is only so much you can do with routine when you have a full-time job. I also want to spend time with my friends and family, and I find this necessary to revitalise myself and get more ideas.

I live on the Sunshine Coast, like 10 minutes from the beach, so I go to there often with friends and sometimes alone just for coffee and reading. I love living close to the beach and I often spend time there and chill out. I make sure I still write during the week, but I also like making sure that I have time to socialise and have fun.

My diary is basically my best friend. I jot everything into my diary – partially because my memory is like a goldfish, but also so that I can plan my days and weeks out in advance and be prepared for everything that happens.

Now, routine shouldn’t dictate your entire life. Many people say that creativity dies in routine. For me, it doesn’t, thankfully. I tend to thrive in routine – within reason. I set my mornings out and my days out pretty routinely to work around my full-time job. I don’t get caught up in the routine though – if I get invited out or I happen to sleep in, it’s not the end of the world.

I do endeavour to always set time aside each day for writing and reading. If I know I’m going to be out all night after work, I try to read in the morning while eating breakfast. Writing and reading are essential to my life – I love reading, and I adore writing so I find I need to include these things in my daily routine.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

Stephen King

Stephen King is right with this. There is no way around being a writer than to read and write a lot. Each day you should set aside time for reading and writing – it’s the only way to be a writer. You learn so much from reading and it really helps when you write.

Routine is amazing for me, it really helps me to stay centered and keep writing. I set a daily routine to ensure that I do everything I want in a day and also stay healthy. Exercise and meditation is essential for me and it really helps me to stay on track and keep writing around my job.

I would definitely recommend keeping a routine, even if its small, just to keep writing around full-time work. Having a set bedtime and wakeup time helps keep me fulfilling my daily goals and I feel healthier and fitter with the routine. I know it’ll change once I write as my full-time job, but for now I need to write around my 9-5 job and the set routine really helps.

What do you do to stay motivated and write with a
full-time job?

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