balance writing

How to Balance Writing with your Day Job

 

One of the crucial things that writers require and lack is time. With an incomplete novel idling at the desk, writers go through a tremendous pressure of completing it on time and getting it published as well. Now, most first-time authors are not celebrities; they are aspirants who have a powerful story in hand and want to get it out to readers. An average writer is an office-goer, who has to clock in and dedicate nine hours from his everyday life to his job that feeds him at the end of the day. For most writers, completing a book after sweating it out in the office just doesn’t work and they suffer from lack of motivation and creativity to get words flowing.

Driven by an enthusiasm to write a book, a lot of first-time authors also tend to give up their jobs and regret it later. Personally, I know a couple of my friends who quit their day job and decided to write a book. The result was something contrary to what they intended – they couldn’t complete the book and they failed to be financially stable as well. So, if you feel somewhere between your job and your personal life, your dream has taken a hit or if you’re looking forward to managing your time effectively so you could dedicate your time to write your book and retain your day job as well, here are some tips on how you can balance your day job with your writing.

For some inspiration, know that some of the most successful authors like J. K. Rowling, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Wolf, Harper Lee, Anton Chekhov and more wrote their bestselling masterpieces while retaining their day job. Read on:

Writing Schedule

Whenever you go off the track from writing your book, an effective way by which you can get back to writing is coming up with a writing schedule. It’s a tested method in which you have a physical tracker for your book and you schedule your writing according to a writing goal, which can either be a goal to complete a set of chapters or reach a word-count. You can either have a writing schedule set for a week or a month and on a regular basis, you can see if your writing progresses as intended. To stick to your schedule, you should write every day. No matter if you write a page or a chapter, pen down your story. Writing every day will keep your thoughts on your plot and story active and ensure there is no difference in the flow when reading.  Here’s a link to the article on writing schedule that will help you more: https://notionpress.com/blog/setting-up-writing-goals/

Select a different time to write

Sometimes, our day job tends to get the best out of us and all that we want to do after we reach home is just sleep. If this happens a couple of times a week, your book is not going anywhere. So, the best alternative would be to shift your time of writing to morning, preferably early morning. Sit down to write at a time between 5 and 7 in the morning and you will see a drastic difference in your work. As we know, the human mind is the most fresh during the early hours of the day and when you capitalize on that time to pen down your story, the productivity is just going to be optimum. After writing, you can start your routine of getting ready for your day job. Also, make it a point to sleep early in the night so you can wake up early and start off with writing your manuscript.

Have a notepad or an electronic device

Always have a notepad or an electronic device like a tablet with you so you can write on the go. If you have to commute to office for close to an hour, you can make use of this time to actually work on your book. With today’s internet connectivity, it is also easier to research information on the topic your niche and write when you’re on the move. Also, it happens often that when you travel, some of the novel thoughts strike you. You need to be ready for such instances and immediately document your thoughts. You can then work on incorporating them to your book. Imagine, if you commute for two hours, one to go and one to come back, you can actually make use of this time to write your book. If you have a tablet or a smartphone, check out the tools you can use to write your book: https://notionpress.com/blog/top-writing-tools-for-authors/

Catch up on the weekend

If it’s not feasible for you to dedicate your mind and time to write on the weekdays, ensure you sit down on the weekend and reach the set word count. Fix up a writing goal for the month and make sure you finish the number of chapters or the estimated word count you have set in your mind. Don’t pressurize yourself on the weekdays to write and just write whenever you can. Just detach from this world on the weekends and get back to writing the two days, undisturbed.

Give up on some things

Sometimes, even if you don’t feel tired after coming from work, some of the things that keep you away from writing are distractions like social media, television series, movies, and games. Until you finish writing your book, give up on these distractions and focus on completing your manuscript alone. More importantly, do not check your office emails when you get back home. An email from your boss will make your attention shift to your office work, marooning your manuscript. When you’re home, prioritize writing over several other things. Go offline in the evenings or whenever your writing time is or opt for a tech-detox. You will be surprised to see the amount of time you save when you give up on them. You can then invest the time on writing your book.

If myths like ‘You cannot write a book as long as you have a day job,’ or, ‘Quit your job and complete your book,’ keep inspiring you, be warned. You don’t have to compromise one for another. All it takes is some planning and organization of your time and work to balance both. In real life, when you quit your job, you will start feeling the pressure and the burden of cash crunch will influence your writing. You will end up writing something that was totally off the track of what was in your mind or not write at all. Plus, having a day job will get your mind off the pressure of writing and you will get back to your manuscript fresh. So, don’t make hasty decisions. Get organized, plan well, stick to the plan, and get writing.

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Aravind S

Aravind, works as a publishing mentor at Notion Press. His articles help aspiring writers realize their dream of becoming a published author. He has several years of experience in the publishing industry and has researched on digital media and the future of print-publishing. He is an active mentor for a community of writers to educate and guide them toward writing a book that sells.

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