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Balancing Work and Writing

Thank you for stopping by to read the latest blog entry. Today I want to tackle a topic that many indie authors face on a regular basis, how do I balance my job and my writing?

I think this is a question each indie author has faced at some point in their journey as an author. Your job is necessary to pay your bills, take care of your family, and to support your writing. However, we all dream of the day in which writing becomes our full-time job. But until that becomes a reality, how do you balance the two?

For me, when I started writing, I didn’t see it as a means to leaving my career. I actually like my career and what I do. Writing for me was a creative outlet. I’ve never been gifted with musical talent, drawing talent, and many other “creative” type talents; however, I have been gifted with combining words and telling a story.

When I wrote my first novel, it was a topic that I allowed to marinate in the back of my mind for years before I put pen to paper (lets be real, I did all the writing digitally). I started writing on a Saturday after a random haircut and the words were flowing. Sunday was another great day of building my characters and the plot. And then Monday came and all of the free time I had on Saturday and Sunday to write was not there because I had to work.

By the time the workday came to a close, and I fought traffic to arrive home, writing was the last thing on my mind. It was basically dinner, preparing my two little ones for bed, and then preparing for work the next day. I quickly realized, if I planned to finish the novel, I needed a plan.

What could I do to maximize the time I had in my day? Soon I realized that writing was consuming my free thoughts. When I drove the hour each way to and from work, I thought up the next portions in the book. I took quick notes when I arrived at the job and when I arrived home. If I didn’t have plans for lunch, I would sit down and write out scenes on my smartphone to later transfer to my overall novel. When the kids went to bed, I stayed up an extra hour, or two, sometimes three to write.

It got to the point that I would wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts about my novel, pick up my phone and take a quick note. I recall waking up one morning and reading my notes only to find I couldn’t understand what I wrote. At that point, I realized I needed a tad bit more conscious thought when taking notes in the middle of the night. But I digress.

What I found in balancing my work with my writing was I never stop writing. If I truly waited until I had scheduled time to sit down and write, it would take three years to write one novel. But if I utilized the random 20 here or there to keep the thoughts moving forward, when I did have an hour or two to sit down and write, I was more productive.

Now as I sit down to pen book number three, I realize how far I’ve come in my writing journey. I’m sure I will continue to refine the process, but the process does allow me to continue moving forward. Who knows, maybe one day I will have normal workdays in which writing is my career, but until then the balancing act will continue.

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