How to Write With a Full-Time Job

It sucks. Get used to it. Most if not all writers had to work on their first novels in the wee hours of the morning or in the dark solitary hours of the night in order to get things done. They didn’t just magically hit the fucking jackpot and got to drink coffee and make shit up right out of the gate. Doesn’t exactly work like that. Ernest Hemingway didn’t make a living as a writer until age 42 and that’s because he sold the movie rights of “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” So yeah, not even Hemingway is gonna put up with your bitchin’.

On a serious note, yes it sucks. Every writer’s dream is to have writing be their job. I know it’s mine. Being able to create all day every day, while exhausting, would be the ideal way I’d like to make a living. Unfortunately, there are several hoops one must jump through to achieve that goal and even then, you may not ever get there.

Set a Routine

Because of having a job which consumes 8 hours of your day, you need to have a routine or to at the very least set aside specific time to write. This can be writing during your break at work, early in the morning before work, or before you go to bed. It can also be whenever the hell you can actually fit it in. If you’re taking your kid to a sports practice, write then. Find time or make time. If you can’t make time, it may not be that important to you.

Set Aside Time and Let Your Family Know

Writing is difficult enough. Add work, family/friends, and life into the mix and you see why there are so few authors out there writing full-time. It also makes it easy to see why so many people give up or forget about their dreams of writing novels because they simply put writing to the side one day, then another, then another, and before they know it, they’ve gone years without putting a single word down. Don’t let that happen to you. If you have to, set aside a time to write and let your family know that this is your time. If necessary, tell them to not bother you for just 30 minutes or an hour. Sometimes, just that little bit of time every day makes it all come together.

Wake Up Earlier

In my experience, if I wake up and immediately start writing (after getting coffee, of course) or write once I complete my morning workout, I’m not only more likely to actually get some writing done but it sets the tone for the rest of my day and I’m more productive. Yes, we all love our sleep. I get it. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he sleeps six hours a night so he has 18 hours in the day to do what he needs to. When people told him that they sleep 7-8 hours, his response, “sleep faster.”

When you wake up, one of the first things you’re going to is the coffee pot to pour a cup. Either way, you’re going to be tired but if sacrificing a little sleep will help you get closer to your goals, I’d say it’s a worthy trade-off. Sleep when you’re dead.

We only have so many days and hours in our lives to get things done. 6-8 to sleep, approximately 3 per day for hygiene/bathroom, 8 for work, however many for chores, and then the little bit that’s left for you to do what you want to accomplish. Your headstone will have include two dates and a dash. Make the most out of the dash.


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