Writing + Day Job: How I Found the Time to Torture Fictional People

…to write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer’s mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it. Dogs will bark; people will interrupt; money must be made; health will break down. Further, accentuating all these difficulties and making them harder to bear is the world’s notorious indifference.

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Writing is hard and it gets worse when Life grabs you by the throat and throws you around like some wild animal. This happened to me during my first two weeks at my day job. It was difficult to juggle my new schedule, college, and writing. I did something horrible and I stopped working on my writing projects because I believed I didn’t have the time to.

But there’s always time! All I had to do was change a few things in my routine.

I decided to sacrifice something

I needed to be honest with myself.  How bad did I want to write? Pretty freaking bad. What was I willing to give up? Hmmm…two hours of sleep?

Yep. I did something I NEVER thought I would do. I started waking up an hour or so before I needed to get to work and used the extra time to torture my characters. I felt pretty good about myself afterward. I’m not too sure what that says about my mental health, however.

I kept a notetaking tool on me at all times

Whenever a good idea pops into my head, my inner self says, “You don’t need to write this down. You’ll remember it.” Then, four hours later, the only thing I can remember was how awesome the idea was. Content be damned.

This is why I started using OneNote to jot down ideas or freewrite. I don’t have the luxury to write during my working hours, so I usually do this during my breaks.

I learned to suck it up and write after work

Like any other introverted weirdo, I feel mentally exhausted when I come home from work. All I want to do is kick back on the couch and rest my eyes for two seconds…which somehow turns into a three-hour power nap.

My art is important, so I do my best to push through the exhaustion and write anyways.

…Or that’s what I would do if I was a responsible writer. Instead, I work on my projects after I take my power naps. Don’t judge me!

I started making the most out of my off days

I know. Days off are sacred! It’s a time to relax, party, binge watch a new Netflix series and etc.. However, it’s a waste to squander a free day. So before I start a six-hour gaming session, I invest some time into my projects because they’re important to me.


Now, these are the strategies I use to work some writing time into my life, but it may not work for you. I suggest analyzing your day and habits. What can you give up / limit? Where can you squeeze some writing time?

Whatever you do, the most important thing to remember is that there’s always time.

How do you find time to write around your day job / non-writing career? Share them in the comments below.

7 Replies to “Writing + Day Job: How I Found the Time to Torture Fictional People”

  1. I like to wake up early in the morning and write while I drink coffee. It seems like that is the time my mind is clearest and it gets my brain going for the day.

    I need to be better about note taking when I get an idea. I forget so many ideas.

    1. I’m a morning writer, too. I think my ideas come easier at that time because my inner critic it too tired to throw her two-cents in. Or it could just be the morning air?

      I still haven’t perfected a note-taking strategy that captures all my ideas the moment I get them, but I get 10% of them down. That’s an improvement!

  2. Hey Desiree, not sure what time of the day I prefer, but I just try to use the time, when I feel inspired. Reading more and cutting back on Netflix also helps me to feel more inspired. Reading stimulates my thoughts, while watching TV does the opposite most times.

    Life is too short, so I agree: if it’s important to you, make time!

    1. I thought it was just me! I feel that I think more actively when I read than watching television. But, yes. Sometimes we dont have set times to write when we’re working (espcially when your hours fluctuate). So, writing when you simply have time is all you can do. Even when you’re super exhausted! It’s all about how important this writing thing is to you.

      1. Oh, there are studies about that! It boils down to one thing really: when you read, your brain is active. When you watch TV, it is rather passive. Obviously, being active beats passivity. It’s like going to the gym with your brain 🙂

          1. Yeah, and if I remember right novels are even better than e.g. newspapers. Novels require you to imagine a new world or a character. Like when I was a teen reading a book felt to me like actually travelling. It’s actually very interesting, when you think about it. Why do we normally enjoy a book better than the movie? Does that have anything to do with it?

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