How to Write Your Novel with a Full-Time Job
When you’re starting out as a writer, especially in this day and age, it’s almost impossible to write full-time without a source of income. For most of us, we need a full-time job to pay rent, bills, and other living expenses, and those jobs can leave little time for writing your novel.
Luckily there are some tips to writing while you have a full-time job. If you have the dedication, drive, and organization skills, you can successfully complete a novel while holding a day job.
1. Prioritize your Life
First, you’ll have to decide what responsibilities and pastimes are the most important to you. Of course, your full-time job should be your first priority to keep the roof over your head. But other activities might fall by the wayside while you make time for writing—and that’s okay. Think of how good you’ll feel when your novel is finished—that’s worth a lot more than skipping one happy hour or weekend trip.
2. Maximize Your Time
Once you’ve cultivated your to-do list, you can maximize those scheduled and open hours to write as much as possible. Write during your lunch break, while dinner is cooking, or during your commute. Even if it’s outlining or character development, write when and where you can.
3. Take Notes Everywhere
That leads into the next tip—take your notes everywhere. Whether you scribble on a napkin or type into your phone, keep some form of a notepad with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike!
4. Find Out How You Write – in small doses or lengthy binges
Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you outline for days or binge-write during your daily writing time? Whichever style suits you, figure it out early and plan around your strategy. This will help when your prioritizing each stage—the outlining, the drafts, the editing and more.
5. Recharge and Reset
A few months of delving deep into the creative process and skipping nights out can do a number on your emotional health, so make sure to recharge and reset when you feel the writer’s block creeping up. Take an hour, day, or even a week off if you need to fill up your mind batteries.
6. Set Goals
Depending on the length of your novel and your personal writing process, you should set goals to achieve both in the short and long term. You can set a goal for an hour a day, 10 pages a week—whatever fits your schedule and leaves you feeling accomplished.
7. Don’t Get Discouraged
Speaking of feeling accomplished, setting goals comes with an important caveat—don’t feel discouraged if you get off track. You can take a day or two to revamp, but make sure you jump back into your schedule with your goals in mind.
The most important takeaway here is not rigid scheduling or even setting a certain number of words to write per day. It’s knowing that you have a drive and determination to write your novel, and once you have that, no full-time job can stop you!
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