How many of you hold down a day job in addition to your writing?
Writing as a second job isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it’s not impossible, either.
Here are some practical tips to help you use your time wisely:
- Get up early – I set my alarm 30 minutes early in the morning and use the time working on my writing. You can do a lot in 30 minutes, and you probably won’t miss the extra sleep. You can make the time as long as you can stand – I’ve heard of dedicated souls who try for three hours a day!
- Stay up late – Or you could stay up 30 minutes later at night and write. Either way, you’re only losing half an hour of sleep.
- Make a commitment – In order to be a serious writer, you have to get serious. Make the commitment. Keep a regular schedule. Write every day.
- Keep a notebook with you – If you don’t have anything to write on, your spare time is wasted. Keep paper and pen (or iPad or laptop or whatever you care to tote around with you) at all times.
- Have a dedicated writing space – Some people like writing in different spots, like the library or a coffeeshop. That’s all well and good, but if you’re struggling to find time, you don’t need the distractions. Find a spot in your house (or use the nice, quiet library) and de-clutter it. Make it into the spot where you write – make sure your brain knows that when you’re in that spot, you are doing nothing but writing.
- Make the most of time – Waiting in the doctor’s office? Write a scene. In the drive-through line? Write a paragraph or two. Picking the kids up at school? You guessed it: write! Don’t waste a minute.
- Learn to use the crockpot – Yes, it saves time making those meals, but what it also does is offer that time to you to sit down and write instead of standing over the stove.
- Train your friends and rfamily – No, not like a dictator. What I mean is to teach them that writing is important to you. Train them to leave you alone for part for the day. Have a signal, like a closed office door, that means “Don’t bother me now” and stick to that.
- Divide up the chores – If you’re going to get serious about writing, expect your housekeeping skills to suffer some. After all, that time has to come from somewhere. If you have a spouse, make a deal that you’ll divide up the chores evenly. Or trade something out – offer one of those crockpot meals once a week in exchange for the laundry, or volunteer to load the washers if they’ll put away the clothes and/or dishes.
- Keep track of your progress – My writing program will do this for me, but if yours doesn’t, figure out a way to keep track of how much you’re writing. It doesn’t matter if you use page count or word count – just have a solid reminder of how far you’ve come since the last time you sat down at the desk.