Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writing When You Have A Full Time Job

Good Morning Lovelies,

Things have been hectic as usual this new year, but in a good way. I've somehow managed to stick to my writing schedule despite working full time and running around like a headless chicken since January. My next book, Persuasion Skills, is out to my editor, I've already started working on my next release, Frosted Bites, and the hubby and I are in the middle of buying a new home. Yes it's been crazy! With a full time job, a husband and a guilt wielding mother that has been no easy feat! 

So how the heck have I not gone off the deep end (much) and still managed to maintain the writing schedule I set at the beginning of the year?  Sadly the answer is actually relatively simply stated but hella hard to implement. All it took to maintain this schedule was....

            1.) 90% dedication (saving room for sleep, food and sex) and...
            2.) 100% REALISM.

Yes you read that correctly. This year when I set out to list my goals and schedule to obtain them I decided to actually try being realistic with myself and how much I could actually get done with the state my life is in. With a full time job that requires far more than 40 hours a week, I didn't lie and convince myself that I could write 1,000 to 5,000 words a day. Instead I told myself that I would start every week with a list of mini-goals related to my current work in progress (ex. finish one chapter, research a character, read a new book etc.). If at the end of the week, there were items still lingering on my list, I would look at my calendar and see what activities would have to be cut to incorporate the additional items. Yes I sacrificed, yes I missed a party or two, but guess what? It kept me motivated. Knowing that I might miss out on a Louis CK concert, didn't magically clear my hectic schedule, but it did help me use my writing time more effectively.

Part of my being realistic campaign also included (gulp) only working on one project at a time. Yeah I know! That was actually the hardest rule to adhere to. With limited time available I had to be honest with myself and understand that streamlining (ie. uncluttering my mind) would be the best recourse. So out went the working on multiple books at once (*sigh*). But even within the rule I forced some realism. I knew that I would be tempted to work on something else I also refused to shove good story ideas aside, so I gave myself a ting concession-I was allowed to note the idea and even jot down mini outlines. That's it. The good news? My works in progress list has grown to epic proportions AND I know that they will actually get done. Sweet! 

As an aside, notice that I've included reading a new book each week. Why you ask when my schedule is so tight? I do this for various reasons:

1.) I love to read and if I don't reward myself with a good book, then what would be my incentive for writing one?

2.) As a writer you have to perfect your craft. You are not perfect. It's good to see how other writers do things. When I read a well written book this is my progression...ooh and ahh over things like voice, emotion and just sheer awesomeness-->be green with jealousy-->become inspired-->become determined to be better myself. These are all good things.
3.) It's good to check out who is publishing what (self-pub and trade). Is the editing done well? How about the cover art? If it's a trade pub, is the book selling well and being marketed effectively? These are all things a writer should look at especially if you're interested in going the trade publication route. If you plan on submit your book to a publishing company you want to know which ones would be the best fit for your book. Obviously, you can tell I plan on going this route this year :). 

Okay that's my spiel for today. I hope you're all doing well. I'll be posting lines from Frosted Bites soon so stayed tuned!   

Talk to you soon,


  1. Thanks for this post. I really appreciate the realism part; that often seems to be lacking when I see these kinds of "how-tos."

  2. Thanks for stopping by! This method has worked well for me so far, but I'm sure for others it may not work at all. However I admit I feel so much more productive now. I usually hate how to lists when it comes to writing b/c they tend to be less than useful, but I hope this helps someone, since there's no assembly required :)

  3. There's such a mix of common sense and wisdom in this post! Thanks for pulling it all together, and best of luck with your upcoming project(s).

    1. Thanks Liv! Here's to hoping it keeps working ;)

  4. Thanks! I always feel majorly-guilty when other authors insist that there is only one right way to be an author...and it involves writing every single day! Or producing a set number of words every single week...etc. I work 2 jobs and often have weeks where I'm doing almost 70 hours out of my house, not to mention I have to sleep sometime. Those weeks I barely get on-line, let alone to FB or other blogging meccas.

    I try to not judge myself too harshly, though I gag in jealousy when authors write about their "hard day" that started out with breakfast and coffee on the balcony, then a leisurely few hours spent blogging before lunch, then writing all afternoon. Hell, if I had that kind of time I could produce 3 times what I do now! But that has to wait until all of my kids are out of college and we've paid off all that we're still borrowing for them to go. Sigh.

    I saw a cartoon that had a woman lying in bed, sick with the flu. And the caption above her smiling face said: "At last! A reason to do nothing!"

    1. Lol! I feel you Fiona! Sometimes seeing those messages have me rolling in a combination jealousy and pique. I would love to be able to write full time but sadly that is just not on the table at the moment, but I've got hopes for it in the future :)

  5. really well put - you're mirroring my life at the moment, i think the old saying - how do you eat an elephant? one chunk at a time - sums it up perfectly, achievable, bite size goals to keep you motivated. Now if someone can just get me off twitter .... best of luck with your projects!

    1. Ahhh, twitter. Yes I suffer from the same addiction. I think I might adopt my editors approach-a strict time cut off each day. I may need to work my way slowly up to that though :)