Writing a novel requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and emotion. These can all be difficult to muster up when you work full-time at another job. Still, working full-time should not be a deterrent to pursuing the goal of writing a novel! Here are 5 tips for writing a novel while working full-time:
#1. Use Your Best Energy:
Finding the time of day when you have your best energy is an important part of writing while still working full-time. Using your most productive and creative self for the work most important to you means that you can make the most out of what time you do have.
I’m a morning person, so I make sure that the first thing I do when I wake up is get some writing under my belt. Other people work well late at night. Whatever time works best for you, turn that into writing time!
#2. Small Progress:
Research has shown that task based goals help people to achieve their objective more than setting outcome based goals. Choosing to divide your novel’s progress up into manageable chunks is a much better way to achieve the desired outcome. So instead of setting an ambiguous and poorly defined goal like ‘write a novel,’ you should set a task-based goal of writing every day. You can measure your daily progress by a word count, or make it a time-based goal. But by meeting that goal every single day, you will quickly start to see that small daily progress add up in a big way.
These small task-based goals should also be realistic. If you know that you only have half an hour each day to write, then setting a goal of 2000 words a day is likely something you cannot accomplish, and you will derail your progress simply by setting such a goal.
When you have to work a full-time job you likely won’t be able to write as quickly as those authors who can write for a living, or as quickly as you want to write.
Being patient with your own limitations, be it time, energy, or attention is essential to continuing with your novel, instead of giving up. Continual progress towards your goal, even if it’s not moving as fast you hope, is still progress. I find it helpful to keep a progress bar, instead of looking at my word count. Every day that I write towards my goal, I see that reflected in my progress bar, and it encourages me to work at it again the next day.
#4. Write ‘In-Between’:
I wrote more about this in detail here, but finding time for writing can happen at any time during the day, even at your full-time job. Most jobs these days have some down time where you could get in a quick 200 words. I’ve also found my commute to be a helpful time to get writing done.
It doesn’t even have to be writing, but instead finding inspiration in the people you see daily, and the conversations you have. Simply considering things from another perspective will open you up to new ideas that can directly impact your writing.
#5. Find space:
Sometimes in order to accomplish goals, like finishing a novel, we need to sacrifice something else. There is always margin where we can make room- whether it’s time spent watching television, or time wasted on social media – we often over estimate the amount of time we spend actually working, and underestimate the amount of time we waste.
A good way to find some space is to keep track of how you use your time in a day. This requires complete honesty of course, as well as self-awareness when you are wasting time – but it’s an excellent way to find some margin, and gain some time back by eliminating waste.
What are some other tips for writing while working a full-time job? Tell me in the comments below!
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