Most of you know, as much as I wish it was, writing isn’t my full-time job. I’ve been working as the Content Manager for a start-up company called Apex Waves for 3 years. Thankfully, my boss is awesome (and actually supportive of my writing), my co-workers are great, I enjoy my job most of the time (except when I have too many projects to juggle and become overwhelmed), and I work remotely full-time. Overall, I’m thankful for my job and know how lucky I am to have a job where I have very few complaints. However, on top of working this full-time job, I’m trying to write and publish books in hopes of someday becoming a full-time author. For this week’s blog post, I wanted to discuss the struggle of working full-time while writing because it’s a reality that many writers face.
It’s difficult to make time for writing when you have a day job. If you also have a significant other, kids, want to make time for things like exercising, sleeping enough every night, and still have free time for hobbies, then it can seem impossible to find the time to write. But you can always make time if you have the willpower. You can do this by waking up earlier to write, writing during your lunch break and any other breaks during your day, or cutting out your TV/video game time. In February, I wrote a blog post which gives 6 ideas for how you can find the time to write if you need help getting started.
However, I also want to caution you about burnout. I think there is such a thing as spending too much time on your writing, which doesn’t allow you to relax and could cause you to miss out on spending time with your family and having fun. The past 6+ months I have pushed myself to write, edit, market, and promote my book almost every day, spending my weekends working almost the entire time and rarely allowing myself a day off. Recently, I’ve realized this isn’t sustainable. I took a break for a few days and spent the last 2 nights after work watching movies with my husband and eating junk food. I’m feeling much more relaxed after allowing myself to rest and recharge, so I want to remind all writers to take breaks because your mental health is important. Yes, your writing is important too, but you shouldn’t let it stress you out constantly or cut into time with your family. Family and mental wellbeing should always come first.
Another difficult part of writing while working full-time can be finding motivation. Sometimes the most difficult part about being a writer is writing. If you’ve just gotten home after working an 8+ hour shift, then you most likely want to eat dinner, relax, and maybe watch Netflix or read a book. Some days it may seem like the worst thing in the world to write after a long day of work. But you need to sit in your favorite chair or on your couch or at your desk and write. During these times, you need to remind yourself why you write. Is it to express your creativity? To share your stories with the world? To instill emotion in your readers? To give people nightmares from your frightening thrillers or make them swoon when they read your romances? Whatever your motivation is, remember it even on your most difficult days.
Sometimes the struggle is confidence. You might feel like every word you write is shit and question whether anyone will like your books or if you’ll ever sell any books to people outside your family. If you’re feeling down about your writing abilities, you can start by remembering that every first draft is shitty. Then, read a piece of your writing that you’re in love with, something that amazes you and you never get sick of reading. Read reviews of books by other authors and realize that not every book is for every reader. Read writing-related books and fiction books to study the craft and art of writing. The more you read and write, the better you will become at writing.
I hope this blog post helped you realize that despite the many struggle, it is possible to work a full-time job and write. I don’t want this to be discouraging to new writers, but rather I want you to know what you’re getting into so you can jump in wholeheartedly, prepared to tackle your book.
As always, feel free to comment below with your own experiences or struggles with working full-time while writing.