How To Balance Your Day Job With Your Writing Life
Unfortunately, not all of us writers can afford to leave our day job, move to a private island and write to our heart’s content. So, how do you write while holding down a job and attending to all of your other life responsibilities?
People find it interesting that I exercise both sides of my brain. During the day, I am a college professor teaching accounting and business courses to the military. And I write poetry, articles, and blogs. My ultimate goal is to become a full-time writer, however, until that happens the bills have to be paid. So, I use the two degrees I worked so hard for to bring in the steady paycheck. One day, writing will take its place.
In a recent IGTV video, I talked about the mindset I’ve developed towards my dual life. I view my full-time job as a means to support myself. But I view my writing life as my career. When people ask me what I do, I say that I am writer. And oh yeah, I’m a college teacher.
It’s absolutely no disrespect. I actually love teaching and find a lot of satisfaction in it. However, I have to keep my goals aligned in their proper place; speaking those things that are not as though they are.
Oftentimes, writers with full-time jobs are tempted to put off writing until there is more free time. Truth is, more free time doesn’t automatically mean you’ll use that time to write. In fact, you’ll do everything but write. Perfect conditions are no guarantee of writing success.
The good news is that writing requires just as much discipline as it does creativity. So, you can learn how to make writing a daily habit. It doesn’t have to compete with your day job.
One of my favorite writers, Toni Morrison, managed to write unforgettable pieces of literature while working full-time. So, I don’t feel discouraged or even guilty for not being able to pursue my passion full-time. Rather, I make sure that I set myself up for success.
Those of us who write know that writing is not just a hobby; writing is fueled by a passion deep down inside. It only grows when watered and nurtured. By no means are you a robot – you’re an artist. But writing is a discipline. The more you write, the better you become. You’ll create more ideas, refine those ideas, and broaden your scope. It all starts with a daily commitment.
Schedule it All
Although I work remotely, I still have a time that I am scheduled to work. I also have other obligations throughout the day that have a predetermined time. We are all busy but that’s all the more reason to add writing to it. You don’t want writing to be an afterthought. It needs to be part of your daily routine.
Embrace the Distractions
As a writer, you’re sensitive about your ish. It’s okay, however, it can lead to a mild form of obsession – over characters, stories, dialogue, poems, and themes. The good news is you have something to interrupt your fixation and it’s one of the biggest benefits of working a full- time job – distraction! While you’re distracted with your day job, you get much needed distance from your writing. That way, when you return to your story, you’ll be able to see it with a fresh perspective.
Remember that all the time you have is right now. Don’t wait until your job situation changes, for the pandemic to end, or when the conditions are just right to write. They’ll never be just right. There will always be another distraction – if not work, it’ll be something else. Make writing a priority and tell the stories that only you can tell.