Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Some Ideas to Write Around Real Life

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by Tammie Fickas

Ah, the life of a writer! You get to sleep in, enjoy your morning coffee on the back deck, spend a few hours at your desk, and boom, you have success. It’s enough to make a girl quit her day job and call herself a writer.

Okay, before you stop reading, we all know it doesn’t work that way. Writing is a challenging and solitary position. There’s a lot more to being an author than having the words. It takes a lot of work and revision to get to the point of being a publishable document.

It’s true that if you work hard, you may be able to quit your day job to write, but for the vast majority of us, we work at something else. Even if you don’t have other employment, you may have children at home, or maybe you’re caring for an aging parent. The secret is to figure out ways to make time for our craft in our already busy lives.

Over the years, I’ve often envied my friends for whom writing is their business. That is until I realized that they have the same struggles with finding the time that I do. So as I try to focus my efforts, I’ve culled some tidbits of advice that help me.

When we can’t sit down and work at it all day (and who really does that?), look for chunks of time that can be taken advantage of for your writing. I work from home now, so I will get up from my desk for a quick 10-minute break each morning and afternoon. During those minutes, I may take a walk and think about my latest work in progress or go into the living room and jot down notes for what I want to write later. Those short sections of your day can add up to increased productivity later and brilliant ideas to make your story better.

While making time is critical, for me, being organized is a struggle. Disorganization and clutter can derail a writer when there is an opportunity to work. As I’ve worked on this area, I’ve looked at what others do and try things out until I find one that works. One thing that works well for me is using my phone to capture thoughts, pictures, or websites. Most phones can capture this info and having a phone with us has become commonplace. Later I can sync my phone with my computer and use Scrivener or OneNote to keep things together and handy.

One of the final things I find helpful that may not apply to everyone is remembering God’s blessings in my day job. Since I dream about becoming a full-time writer, remembering how my employment is beneficial encourages me. It allows me to use my left-brain talents, it also pays the rent, and enables me to travel to writer’s conferences, and for those reasons, it’s worth it.

Your writing interruptions may be different from mine, but looking for ways to work with them can help. Looking for bits of time, being more organized, and remembering my blessings have made life all-around more enjoyable. If they work for you, great; if not, put your thinking cap on and look for small changes you can make.

Tammie Fickas loves Jesus, her kitty Wilson, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest. She believes your dreams are important to God and He can fulfill them in unexpected ways. Tammie writes to inspire women to dream big, fear less, and live now.

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