Ep 163: How to Write When You Work Full Time
I love that today’s theme comes from a newsletter subscriber who responded when I asked for ideas to address on the podcast or in articles. So this is a real writer with a real struggle—a reality for many writers.
This person wants to know:
How to write when you work full time?
That’s a tough one. It’s hard to have any kind of hobby or side hustle when you work full-time. When you put in the hours at work and come home exhausted, how can you possibly devote your depleted brain and energy to a creative project?
Don’t Ignore the Ache
I stayed home to raise our four children and we chose to home educate, so while I didn’t work full-time in a traditional sense, I had my hands full most hours of the day. Writing was extremely challenging during those years.
My dream was to have an entire day at my disposal, no interruptions, no diapers to change, no activities to organize. But that wasn’t the overall lifestyle we’d chosen. I thought if I couldn’t have the day to write—and if, in fact, my reality felt like I had NO time to write—why bother?
But I couldn’t ignore the ache. I ached to write.
Some days I felt hopeless. Some days I felt sorry for myself and didn’t bother even trying. Most days I wanted that all-or-nothing writing life.
So a lot of days I didn’t write. After all, I didn’t feel like I had the energy; or if I started, I’d only be interrupted. Why try?
But that ache wore on.
Address the Ache
I couldn’t go on like that. I had to address the ache. I suspect that’s where a lot of writers are—maybe the person who sent in this idea for a podcast.
You’re feeling the ache, that soul-ulcer chewing away at your creative impulse. You’re losing hope.
How do you write when you work full time?
Assuming you can’t quit, I hope you’re feeling something else rise up in you—something louder and stronger than the ache.
It’s a voice, a determination within. A resolve.
You have something inside of you that must be voiced.
A barbaric yawp you’re ready to sound over the roofs of the world.
I. Must. Write.
You must write.
Yes, there’s writing in you, ready for the page. You can’t wait any longer.
There’s a writer in you, ready to yawp, and you know it. You can’t wait for the perfect conditions. You can’t wait until you inherit some distant relative’s fortune so you can quit your job.
No more waiting.
You must sound your yawp over the roofs of the world.
You must write.
Look for slivers of time and the occasional chunk of time here or there. Settle for less than the dream of a cabin in the woods. Whatever you can, grab it and write a few lines.
Where Will You Write?
Let me tell you a story.
Joseph Michael developed a Scrivener training course while he was working full time at another job. Scrivener is writing software, also an app, that many authors use because with it, you can manage longer, larger, more complex projects more easily than you can using Word or Google docs.
But Scrivener is a little confusing to most newbies; at least it was for me. So I grabbed his training course years ago when it was on sale and started watching, hoping to avoid bumbling around, losing important pieces of projects. I felt frustrated because I didn’t understand the system, so I walked through his short training lectures and made sense of Scrivener.
Years later, because of the success of his Scrivener course, Joseph Michael came out with some additional training on how to build courses—a course about courses. I didn’t buy the course about courses, but I signed up for a free introductory webinar, where he told how he recorded that early version of the Scrivener course.
He said he’d drive to work. On his lunch break, he’d head to the parking garage and record some of the Scrivener lessons—right there in the front seat of his car, wedged behind the steering wheel. In short sessions, hidden away in the parking garage of his workplace,