Sometimes I think that if people weren’t required to have jobs in order to make a living, there would be far more authors in the marketplace. Juggling a full-time job, a family and your passion for writing can be a tremendous source of stress, especially when there are far too few hours in the day to accomplish any progress on your book.
Writing a book when you have a full-time job requires patience, perseverance and desire. If you don’t really want to write a book, it will never get done. There are too many episodes of favorite television shows to watch, too many books lying unread on your bookcase and too many household chores that need to be completed.
However, if you want to write a book-if you have the desire and the will to get it done-you can. It’s as simple as that. Following are eight tips on how to write a book when you have a full-time job.
1. Put Aside Blocks of Time
While it is possible to write a book on the fly-fifteen minutes on the subway, five minutes between meetings-you’ll accomplish far more if you set aside time every day to work on your book. While you’re at work, realize that your full-time job deserves your complete attention. Wait to work on your book when you’re at home and free from distractions.
2. Get Excited About Writing
Writing a book when you have a full-time job requires a certain level of motivation. Unless you’re excited to sit down and work every evening or in the morning when you wake up, you won’t do it. So on the drive home from work or while you’re eating lunch at your desk, brainstorm ideas in your mind. Think about the next exciting scene or research you want to conduct, and you’ll create the motivation needed to work.
3. Talk to Your Family About It
Believe me, I know how difficult it can be to get your family to leave you alone for a couple of hours to work on your book. Your spouse and children want to spend time with you, so you’ll have to learn how to compartmentalize. Talk with your family about your desire to write a book and let them know how important it is. This will give them reasons to give you time to work after you come home from your full-time job.
4. Don’t Write Every Day
I know that I’ve probably just committed the seventh deadly sin for writers, but honestly, you can’t hope to write every day if you’re also juggling a full-time job. Your mind and body need a chance to recuperate from the stress of both work and writing. Choose one day every week when you don’t write at all-preferably not even an e-mail-to give yourself a chance to relax.
5. Write About What You Know
How many times have you heard that tid-bit of advice? This is especially crucial when you’re writing a book and working a full-time job. Writing about what you know will cut down on the research required to write a book. When you’re spending less time on the Internet or in the stacks at the library, you’ll get far more accomplished.
6. Give Up the Non-Essentials
This is probably not something you want to hear, but if you want to write a book when you have a full-time job, you’re going to have to give up a few things. If you’re used to spending Saturday morning at the breakfast table with the newspaper, you might want to give up that ritual and use that time to write. The same goes for long shopping excursions, sports night with the guys or spa day with the girls. Prioritize, and you’ll have far more time to write.
7. Set Realistic goals
You don’t have to write your entire first novel in two weeks, and if the idea of writing a full-length book fills you with dread, break it down. Decide that you’re going to write two chapters every two weeks, and the entire project will seem more manageable. When you have a full-time job, writing a book isn’t something you can do in a few hours or even a few weeks.
8. Don’t Take Too Much Time Off
We all know that full-time jobs are time-consuming, but you can’t allow yourself to quit writing for several days. I said earlier that you should take at least one day off each week, but don’t let that one day turn into five or six. It’s much harder to go back to the computer keyboard after a week than it is after just a day or two.