How To Write Around Your Day Job

By on April 6, 2017
How To Write Around Your Day Job - Writer's

For many of us writing is a wonderful hobby, and while we spend many an hour dreamily fantasising about quitting our day jobs and writing full time, the practicalities of doing so may mean that dream cannot become a reality (for the moment at least).

But we all want to have more time to write, and fitting it in around other commitments, particularly your day job, can feel like a challenge.

So how can you write around your day job? Let’s be honest, there is no quick fix. It’s all about finding gaps in time here and there to fit more writing in.

Learn how to manage your time

Only you know how important writing is to you, and only you will know what your writing goals are. If your aim is to have a novel planned, researched, written, edited and sent to publishers within 12 months you need to find significant chunks of time to dedicate to achieving this. If that means getting up at 5 am to start writing, or sitting down after dinner and writing until bedtime, you’ll get it done if it means that much to you.

Use your commute

If you commute via public transport this is a fantastic period of time you can use to write. Even if it’s only a 20-minute journey, you’re doing it 5 days a week and that adds up!

If you find writing on your commute difficult because of distractions then you could still use this time productively by doing research, writing plot outlines, jotting down ideas or contacting agents and publishers.

Can you write during the working day?

While we’re not condoning writing your novel when you’re being paid to do something else, if you have breaks, you could use these to write. Bring your lunch with you and use your entire lunch break to work on your writing. If you get distracted at home why not stay at work for an extra half hour or come in earlier and enjoy the peaceful environment to get some writing work done?

Be honest about the time you have

Most people work around 8 hours a day. That leaves 16 hours to play with. OK so you will obviously have other commitments to contend with but even so, there is always time in a day to get a little writing done.

It’s very easy to feel as though we have no free time, but when we actually think and admit to ourselves the amount of time we spend socialising, watching tv, surfing the internet and so on, we are often surprised by the amount of time we choose to spend doing other things when we could be writing.

It’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with feeling tired at the end of the working day and wanting to put your feet up and watch some Netflix instead of sitting down at your computer again. However, you could try and compromise with yourself and have one ‘writing’ evening a week - where you must prioritise your writing above anything else. You’ll soon get into a nice writing routine and see your word count soar!

Be clear about what you want to achieve and just do it!

The things we want most in life are often the hardest - but that’s why the payoff is so great if we do get there. It may be annoying to hear but if you want to find time to write, you will. Just as those who want to exercise will find time to do it and those who want to spend their time doing any hobby simply prioritise it above other things.

Persistence is key

Novel writing takes time and dedication. The good news is you don’t need massive chunks of free time in order to get there. Just keep finding pockets or time here and there and allocate them to your writing . You’ll soon find that you are making progress, and the more you do the closer you’ll get to the finish line, and maybe you’ll get to give up your day job after all!

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

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

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