Mixing Day Job and Writing Life

Currently: I’m deciding which book I want to start next. A coming of age novel about a young woman with paranormal gifts, or a coming of age novel about a middle aged woman looking backward on her marriage and forward to what may be. See, no matter how many years one has graced this earth, we can always be coming of age.

Mood: Cautious optimism.

I am a writer who works a “day job” of 40-60 hours per week depending on what is going on. I leave for my day job around 6:30 or 7:00am. My work tends to be a lot of meetings, and in between meetings a lot of work at a computer. I return home somewhere around 6:30-7:00pm most evenings.

I’m fortunate that I have a wonderful husband who loves to cook and has dinner ready within about half an hour of my arrival. We chat during dinner. Often we watch Jeopardy together. He always wins. I’m lucky to even get half of the answers. I do the dishes and we chat a little more, often planning our next weekend get away. (We try to schedule a full weekend together at least once a quarter). Then I give him a kiss and head up stairs to my computer.

I’m usually at my computer from about 9pm to midnight, either writing or working on writing-related things like Rose City Romance Writers action items. If I’m past about the first three chapters of a novel, I’m spending at least two hours every night working on it. If I’m at the beginning, as I am now, I’m spending more time procrastinating and thinking about starting. I’m usually in this procrastination space about three weeks before really starting. I’m ending my third week now, so I know the pressure is building to make a decision and get started.

I also put in anywhere between five and ten hours each day of the weekend on my writing unless I’m traveling for business or having to do writing things for work. During the Fall I write a lot of grants, so that does tend to take away from my weekend novel writing time.

I go to bed somewhere between midnight and 2:00am each night, depending on when I can shut off the characters in my head. If I’m having trouble forcing myself away from the keyboard, I sometimes get a little hint.

Then I get up the next day and do it all over again. With this pattern, I produce about two novels a year (200,000+ words a year). So, for those who don’t have the luxury of someone else being the breadwinner, you too can still write. You just need to set aside a regular time to write and stick to it. Oh, and don’t allow yourself to become addicted to any regular TV shows unless you can save them and watch them in set aside time all at once.

Sometimes I long for having my day job be writing. At other times I wonder If I would I have enough stimulation from the outside world if I was a full time writer. I think the best solution would be a part-time day job (15 to 20 hours per week). In any case, it’s all good.

Hmmm…I think I’m leaning toward the paranormal coming of age. But then…


Mixing Day Job and Writing Life — 3 Comments

  1. I can’t believe you’re a procrastinator at the beginning of your stories. But if anybody has the right to be, it’s you 🙂 Way to keep the faith with your writing. You’re an inspiration to writers with day jobs (boo, day jobs) everywhere.

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