Welcome Jennifer Roland, author of Ten Takes on Writing, with a guest post on tips about finding time in your hectic schedule to write. (Something I know a just a teeny-weeny about!)
How to Write around a Day Job
by Jennifer Roland
When I was a kid dreaming about being a writer, most of my visions involved a dedicated writing space, all the time in the world to devote to writing, and frequent visits by the muse. Picture Jo March in modern garb and sitting in front of a computer rather than a typewriter.
Well, the computer’s there. But not much else lived up to my fantasy.
For the past eight years, I’ve been writing around a day job in marketing.
Yes, that means I spend my days writing direct mail sales letters, newsletter copy, social media posts, and whatever else my employer needs from me. When I get home, I shift to freelance writing work and personal projects, as well as family responsibilities. Dogs must be fed and kiddo must be bathed, after all.
To make it all work, I’ve had to adjust my image of what it means to be a writer.
I have specific times of day I can do specific things.
I schedule interviews before work or during my lunch hour. This means 90% of my interviews are done in my car. I take advantage of my Bluetooth connection with my smartphone and take copious notes.
When I get home from work, it’s dinner, bonding time with my son, feeding the dogs, bath time for my son, and then back to work. There is a lot more coffee and energy drinks involved in my writing then I thought there would be!
On weekends, morning time is for writing and client work, and afternoon is for family. Then, just like a student, I finish up projects and get prepped for the week on Sunday nights before bed.
Use a Portable Writer’s Kit
I have been using a portable writer’s kit for years, and it is the absolute key to getting anything done.
· A purse that is designed to hold a laptop
· My laptop or tablet, depending on what I need to get done
· A Circa notebook
· A spiral notebook and pen
· My smartphone
This allows me to do work on my lunch break when I need to, and to do those interviews I mentioned earlier. My Circa notebook is for taking to-do lists and notes about all my grand plans, and the spiral notebooks are for interview notes and notes during client calls.
Learn to Write Anywhere
I have written entire articles on my lunch break in a parking lot in my car. (I may or may not have used McDonald’s free wifi to send it to my editor. And I’ll never tell which article it was.)
I’ve gone to coffee shops on PTO days to get stuff done, and at night, I’m working on the couch with the dogs and occasional interruptions when my son needs goldfish. Apparently, only mommy can get those.
Practice writing in all different situations so you can get the words flowing no matter where you are, how uncomfortable it is, and how many distractions are around you.
Ask for Help
After bath time, my son hangs out with my husband so that I can focus. When I’m doing interviews at home, my mom makes sure my son (and the dogs) are quiet. I would simply not be able to get things done in the short amount of time available around my day job.
Are you writing around a day job? Tell us what keeps you going in the comments below.
*Thank you, Jennifer Roland, for your helpful tips. I do schedule time to write and attempt to write on the go. I'd love to hear from my readers with their clever ways to find time to write.
*Also, much appreciation to WOW - Women On Writing for providing this stop on Jennifer Roland's Blog Tour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Roland is a freelance and marketing writer with more than 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine, and marketing environments. Jennifer also works as a virtual assistant to writers, helping them build their online presence and connect with readers so they can focus on what they love — writing.
She loves fiction and writes that under the name Jennifer C. Rodland. She hopes to put all of the lessons she learned writing this book into getting more of that published.
Jennifer can be found online at:
Ten Takes on Writing summary: From novelists to poets to playwrights, Jennifer Roland interviews a variety of authors who have one thing in common — they have all chosen to make the Pacific Northwest their home. Covering a diversity of disciplines — from comics, fantasy, and detective novels to long-form poetry and illustrated children's series — 10 distinguished authors provide unique perspectives about their craft, provide helpful writing advice and tips for success, and share their passion for living and writing in the Pacific Northwest.
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