How To Write While Working Full-Time

Working full-time and then going home to write can be murder on your mind. Desk job, manual labor job, mind-numbing job, delivery job… it’s a job. Mentally and/or physically, it can take a lot out of you. The prospect of working hard and then coming home to self-motivate and work harder can be a little overwhelming.

I think a big concern of mine early on was wondering what the “right” job for a writer was. Now I realize that it’s more about having the means to support yourself while making the time to write. We don’t all jump into the arms of our dream job right off the bat. Heck, we don’t always choose a job that puts us in the best position to network or write. Congratulations on being a human being.

It’s about to get real.

Choose to look forward to writing. 

Amp yourself up to write. Make it something that you look forward to doing. Watch TED talks. Read your favorite Pinterest quotes. Call a confidant for motivation. Join writing groups. You dream it dreamer.

It’s a small adjustment from “I have to write today” to “I get to write today.” You want to do this. Make a mental note to enjoy the fact that you can.

Set a schedule. 

Where do you have the most time in your schedule to carve out the time to write? When you wake up, after dinner, during your lunch break? Put aside time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be hours. You can start out at 20 minutes.

Do it consistently to build a habit.

You need discipline.

But it’s haaarrrdd. Yes, I know. It’s hard to work all day and then come home to write. It’s hard to hold a day job and deal with other people’s perceptions of you before you have concrete credibility. It’s hard to find the right way to tell your stories. It’s hard. Writing is hard. You do it or you don’t do it.

Stop telling yourself that you don’t have the time. You make time for priorities. Ask yourself: Is this a priority?

The “two-minute rule” will make everything easier. 

David Allen made a two-minute rule for procrastinators. Can you do a simple task in two minutes? Since the commitment is smaller, or maybe just put into perspective, it’s easier to achieve.

Can you make a list of story ideas in two minutes?

Can you write out your lead character’s goal in two minutes?

Can you make a list of the people you would like to ask to drinks in two minutes?

Can you type out a networking email in two minutes?

Can you type out a scene description in two minutes?

You can. Set your two-minute goal. And, hey, if you start and don’t want to stop, do another two minutes, and maybe another two, and maybe another two after that.

Some final food for thought: you’re not alone, and you’re not the first person to do this. Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Khaled Hosseini, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Langston Hughes, and Anne Rice all held jobs while writing full-time. You can too.

How do you write while working full-time? Share the methods to your madness below.