Can You Really Be A Part-Time Writer?

By on June 11, 2018
Can You Really Be A Part-Time Writer? - Writer's

When it comes to writing we all hear those stories of famous writers, you know, the ones who ate, slept and breathed writing. Those who would get up at 3 am, shaking with passion, and a fierce, unstoppable desire to write all their thoughts down. Those who couldn’t think of anything other than writing, who would spend their days holed up in their study, perhaps a quirky, dust filled shed at the bottom of their garden, and not see daylight or eat for days on end because their work would so consume them.

Well, that might be all well and good. But for most of us, the idea of being a full-time writer is a bit of a luxury. We all know how hard it is to get published, so how much time can we realistically spend on our writing while still making sure we have a roof over our heads?

Also, it’s OK not to want writing to be the only thing you do with your life. Writers seem to carry immense amounts of guilt around with them. They beat themselves us for not doing enough, for not being good enough. In fact, often we are so down on ourselves and put so much pressure on ourselves it’s a wonder we find any joy in writing at all.

Sure, being a good writer requires dedication and discipline. There is no doubt about it. But one can be a part-time writer and still progress, still set targets and still achieve our writing dreams.

When did being a writer mean one has to be bleary-eyed, neglect our friends and families and live on crusts of bread and water for weeks on end? It’s like we have to be ashamed if we aren’t practically killing ourselves to achieve our writing goals. There is a myth that unless we are waking up in the middle of the night and slowly becoming reclusive in order to write, that we can’t possibly be passionate enough about it or dedicated enough to it to deserve to be successful.

Writers need to give themselves a break. At the end of the day, while it’s important to work hard for what you want in life, it is also important to enjoy the process. So if writing part-time works for you, and allows you to write at your leisure, while also enjoying everything else that life has to offer, that’s fine. In fact, achieving a balance between your writing life and your actual life is healthy, and something which should be encouraged.

We don’t need to have a sob story; we don’t need to cripple ourselves and end up a stressed out, exhausted shell of a person to follow our dreams. That’s not to say that being a full-time writer couldn’t be brilliant, but it needs to be because that’s the right move, not born out of some sort of guilt-ridden, weird idea that you’re not a real writer unless you dedicate every inch of your being to it.

It’s essential for writers to stop and ask ourselves ‘is this working for me?’ ‘am I enjoying this?’ Writers don’t have to be tortured, sleep-deprived souls. It’s OK and possible to be a part-time writer and still be successful. It just might take you a little longer to get there that’s all!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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