Are you someone who works full-time but dreams of becoming a published author someday? If so, today’s tip of the day is for you. Taken from Writer With a Day Job by Áine Greaney, you’ll learn how to overcome the challenges of daily life and ways to incorporate writing into your everyday routine.
You Can Write at Night & Be Productive
1. “I’m exhausted!” Between carpooling, commuting, work, and errands, we seem busier and more stressed than we were ten years ago. If you’re too exhausted to pen the next chapter of your novel or memoir, create a more realistic writing plan. Just write one small page, propped against your pillows and just before you go to sleep. Write until your eyes droop shut.
2. My partner/spouse/family watches TV: Find a quiet room away from the main family area. Or go to bed before everybody else and bring a small laptop or bedside notebook with you. Or leave the TV on and turn it to mute or put on some headphones. Watch the characters on the TV screen. What are they saying? Write the dialogue.
3. Once I get home, that’s family time: Stop for a half hour on the way home from work. Find a regular haunt such as a public library or a café. Buy yourself a nice relaxing beverage, observe the world around you. Write a few pages. Write in your journal to put the workday behind you. When you get home, your family will like this calmer, less stressed you.
4. I just want to kick back and relax: If your workday is extra busy or stressful, keep the lighter, happier writing chores for nighttime, when you need some escape or comic relief. Use writing as a way to kick back and relax.
5. I get home late and I’m starving: Call me antisocial or a woman with poor table manners, but I love to read while I’m eating. I also love to munch away on a plate of food or a bowl of cereal while scribbling in my journal or editing a draft . Eating and writing can make great companions. Especially if you live alone, your dinnertime may provide the ideal, built-in writing time when you’ve changed out of your work clothes and your day is over. Or, if you live with someone, can you sacrifice some other luxury to afford an evening meal out so that you can get some writing done?
6. I have middle-of-the-night insomnia, so I need to get to bed early so I can patch together a full eight hours: Most sleep experts will advise you not to lie there tossing and turning and fretting. Instead, you can get yourself back to sleep if you get up, go to another room, or switch on your night-light and read. Or … you could switch on your night-light and write.
7. My company has offices or centers in three time zones, so my Blackberry goes off all night long. Unless answering after-hours calls is specifically in your job description (if you’re customer or help-desk support), turn it off. If someone really needs you, most organizations have their employees’ emergency or home numbers.
8. But this is my time with my kids! Wait until they’re gone to bed, then make yourself some herbal tea, and write until it’s your own bedtime. Or encourage your kids to voyage beyond their school assignments to become writers, too. By turning your teens or children into effortless young writers, you will also be preparing them for a life of words and thought and story. There’s no reason why creative writing can’t become a shared family experience.
9. Between volunteer work and errands and social appointments, my evenings are busier than my days! Nobody wants to become a hermit (or maybe you do!). But becoming a writer means giving up other things in your life. There is not a way around this. If you’re the type of person who’s always signing up for community chores, make a list of what you really can and cannot do. Then, practice saying “no.”
10. I don’t feel very clever or sharp at night: Who said anything about being clever or sharp? You’ve got lots of time tomorrow in which you can revisit your writing or get clever or clean up your draft . Or use those evening writing sessions to just doodle and wonder aloud on the page or to pose yourself questions about a piece you’re working on.
Did you find these tips helpful? Buy Writer With a Day Job and find:
- Writing tutorials for writing scenes, point of view, creating memorable characters, dialogue, and editing
- Chapters on getting started in writing, building a writing routine, finding time to write, improving your writing skills, and revising your work
- Practical advice and tips for becoming a writer