Three Tips On Finding The Time To Write Outside Of Your Day Job

Three Tips on Finding The Time To Write Outside of Your Day Job

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People ask me all of the time how I manage to stay so busy. “How is it that you have a day job and find time to *fill in the blank*?” And whether the blank is filled with “work on your novel” or “play shows in your band” or “finish your Master’s degree,” this is a question I get a lot.

The truth is that having a day job and pursuing something else—whether it’s writing, a band, filmmaking, acting, etc.—is difficult. It’s almost like working two full-time jobs. Because in this day and age, you can’t just be an artist. You have to also be a marketer, a booking agent, a journalist, etc. etc.

Today, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to pursue your writing on top of your day job.

1. Get up earlier!

I find that my mind works a lot better in the mornings. If I get up early, get ready for work, and then have an extra hour to work on my own writing before skipping off to the day job, I find that I can get a lot done. By the time I get home from work, I’m often mentally exhausted. Working on my novel with that first cup of coffee is always a great idea. Plus, it gives my hair time to dry. 🙂

2. Work during your commute

Fortunately, my day job is literally three minutes away now, but in the past, I have certainly had a commute. I live in metro Atlanta. Our norm here is sitting in traffic for at least thirty minutes when we want to do anything.

Instead of sitting in your car, yelling at all of the other drivers and stewing in your own anger, you could be working. It’s hard to write while driving, true. (Not impossible, but probably dangerous.) This doesn’t mean that you can’t work, though. Try recording notes about whatever project you’re working on into your phone or lines of dialogue you might think of. You might even work on a particular character’s voice or tone. Or get some audiobooks that you can listen to in order to study your craft. There’s a lot of writing-related work that you can do that doesn’t involve actually writing.

3. Change your location

As mentioned earlier, I’m often mentally exhausted by the time I get home from work. If I stay at my apartment, I’m likely to sit on my couch, watch old episodes of Friends, and eat a lot of hummus. If I head on over to my favorite coffee shop, though, it’s just me sitting at a table with my coffee and my lap top. I’ll eventually get some work done just because there’s nothing else to do.

So those are just a few writing tips for those of you who also work a day job. I’m going to try to start posting more helpful little blogs like this for all of my artist friends. 🙂 I hope that will inspire you to get some more work done outside of your day jobs. And happy writing!

8 thoughts on “Three Tips On Finding The Time To Write Outside Of Your Day Job

  1. Getting up earlier is astute writing advice– lots of famous writers heeded it to great success. T.S. Eliot used to get up hours before having to go to work each morning at an English bank, jotting down his notes and ideas for the Four Quartets. Thanks for these tips.

  2. Someone pointed out to me that getting up earlier is not for everyone! I think if I could rephrase this tip, I would say, “Find out when your brain works the best and schedule more time for writing then.” For me, my brain seems to work best in the morning (once I’ve had at least one cup of coffee!)

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Great tips, thanks for this. I am going to try “slowly” to get up earlier and write a few hours before work rather than until the wee hours of the night. For now, I am going to eavesdrop at my fav coffee shop. Your blog is really opening up ideas for me…thanks again:)

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