While the days leading up to becoming a published author can be full of inspiring daydreams, character plotting, and scenery scouting, there is always the looming reality that rent is still due, student loans are still piling up, and groceries still need to be bought to take care of yourself.
When most future authors start out, they almost always have another job to keep the bills paid as they write. We know that if you’re stuck in a classic 9 to 5, it can be difficult to find enough time and energy to set aside for chapter writing. But, we hate the idea of anyone giving up on their passion just to make ends meets. So here are some tips on how to keep writing as best as you can before you clock in and after you clock out.
Jot it down… quickly!
More often than not, good ideas come up when you least expect them. Though your boss may not approve of you typing up your book at your desk, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything else you can’t do. Grab the closest notepad, journal or stack of Post-Its lying around and write it down. Have a new character in mind? A new plot twist? A new setting? Put it to paper! And don’t forget to bring the notes home with you afterwards to review.
Find a new place of inspiration
Not too many people find inspiration when confined to just four walls and a desk with a computer. You authors have greater imaginations than that. Why not try a park, or a museum, or even a beach? Getting into a new environment can get the creative juices flowing again after a long day at work. You may be even be able to bring the family along to keep them busy while you write.
Every bit of free time counts
We understand if the boss has asked you to take some work home or if it’s time to make the family dinner and get them ready for bed, but consider the intervals in between. While the pasta is boiling and the kids are doing homework, or while they watch cartoons on Saturdays after breakfast, that’s a little bit of time to write a little something down. It doesn’t have to be an entire chapter or whole plot line, even just a paragraph or two or a bit of dialogue between characters, will do it.
Don’t forget your bedtime, too
If you’re not too exhausted following the busy day, try a few lines before bed. Get the ideas out before you lay your head to the pillow and possibly forget everything you wanted to say. You could try leaving those same notepads and Post-Its from the office right there on the nightstand next to you. Chances are, also, that if the idea comes in your sleep or if a really good dream has you inspired, you can jot down what happened very quickly. Just make sure that you know when enough is enough – we don’t want you losing too much sleep!
Set a schedule… and an alarm!
Unexpected things come up, of course, but try to keep yourself to a routine. If off days or weekends are open for you, use that time to get into writing hard. Get the chores done early, get a babysitter for the kids if you can, and leave it up to yourself to see how long you need to get your full thought across for your story. If it comes down to it, you have every right to be firm with people in your household regarding your time and space, and that they may only interrupt or contact you in emergencies. Be strict about how schedule your alarm and your days. If you know it will get hectic later on in the day, you might consider waking up just a tad earlier than the rest of the family to get some writing done. If the morning isn’t really for you (full disclosure: this team isn’t made up entirely of morning people, either), then work something out for the afternoon. As long as you can come up with a routine you should have no problems getting your writing off the ground. Remember to just be patient, and take your time!
As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your tips and tricks for sneaking writing time into your busy work schedule!