Most writers have to balance writing time with a day-job, school, taking care of a family, etc.. It can feel like it’s impossible to be a successful writer (whether you’re a novelist, blogger, poet, or any other writer) while juggling other commitments. As hard as it is though, many people do it. Personally, I am a full-time student, and have a part-time tutoring job. I have managed to write my novel Outliers, and plan to publish in late summer of this year. So, what are some tips to help you successfully write part-time?
#1: Accept You’ll Move Slower
You shouldn’t give yourself huge expectations for how much you should be getting done, or comparing how fast you are at writing to other, full-time writers. This will lead to disappointment, and make you feel less motivated to write. You have much less time to write than a full-time writer, so you can’t expect to be making the same amount of content as they do. If you are writing a novel, it’s going to take you a lot longer before you finish. If you blog, maybe don’t expect to be posting twice a day. Whatever you write, try to understand that you have less time to work, so your pace won’t match other, full-time writers.
#2: Don’t Use Lack Of Time As Excuse
It’s good to set realistic goals, but don’t use the lack of time as a reason to never move on from page one of that novel you’re “writing”. You still need to be committed to writing during the time you do have. Write consistently, even though your goals are smaller. A little bit every day adds up, trust me. You have to discipline yourself enough to actually use the time you have. This leads well into Tip #3.
#3: Make Sacrifices
You have to make writing a priority, not The Walking Dead. There are extra things you’ll have to let go of to make time for writing. You can’t say there’s no time to write if you get 11 hours sleep and watch 3 hours of Netflix every night. Something’s gotta give if you want to get your writing done. There are more tips on finding time to write in an older post of mine. The point is to evaluate how you are using your time, and what things are really priorities. You can find time where you didn’t think you had it, and make time by eliminating some non-priorities.
#4: Schedule Your Time
You should try to create a solid schedule for your time (and actually follow it). Block in the times you have a non-writing, serious-priority commitment (work, school, etc.). Look at all the time that is left. Decide how much writing you want to get done each day, and pencil it in. You might do more on Saturday than Tuesday, but try to do a bit everyday. I find it very helpful to divide the writing time up by type, as well. For example, I will separate how much time I want to work on novel writing in a day from how much time I need to spend on writing blog posts. This ensures that I put in a good amount of work for each, and neither suffers.
#5: Plan Ahead
This is especially important for bloggers, but applies to all writers. You need to plan ahead with your writing. If you know next week is really busy, but you have a quiet weekend this week, plan more work for this weekend. Write extra blog posts on your freer days, that way you don’t fall behind on your busy ones. Work more on your book than usual, to make up for times in the future where you might write less. For bloggers, having pre-written posts can be extremely helpful, as they have an audience relying on them to post consistently. Make the most of any extra time you get, to either prepare for slow days, or just get yourself that much further.
Do you have any other tips for writing part-time you’d like to share? What things can you sacrifice to make your writing a priority?
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With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!