Not many of us are fortunate enough to write full time. (Oh how I wish I were one of the lucky ones. Maybe someday.) As I mentioned in my Just Write post my plate is full. I have family and friends that demand time. I have a small craft business because I can’t stay away from crafting any more than I can stay away from storytelling, believe me, I’ve tried. There’s also the EDJ (evil day job) which is only evil because it takes up the bulk of my day and keeps me from writing (but it keeps the bills paid so...).
With all the balls I’m juggling how do I keep them all in the air? Simple. I don’t. I drop balls all the time. I’ll pick some of them back up right away. But, sometimes I let them stay on the ground and just kick them along as I go. This is part of the reason I’ve not published a book in three years (gasp!). The ball I let drop isn’t the writing ball. I’ve been writing. There’s way more to self-publishing than writing and I let the ball drop on all those other things. But this isn’t about publishing, it’s about writing. The rule to follow to fit writing into your life:
Write Like It’s Your Job
Treat writing like it’s a part-time job. If you were to take a part-time job at a retail store you wouldn’t show up occasionally or when you felt like it because you’d be afraid of getting fired. While you can’t be fired from writing, but in some ways, not completing the story in you is like losing your dream job. Hire yourself as the writer of the story you’ve been dying to tell. Interview yourself if you must.
Why are you suited for the author position?
What do you hope to accomplish in your role?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
When will you be able to start?
Nepotism is alive and well so you’ll hire yourself. The first thing you’ll do is set schedule. If you can only find an hour here and there, put it on your calendar, set reminders on your Echo or Google Home, write them on a sticky note on the fridge or whatever you have to do to remember it’s writing time. Tell your family you have to got “to work” then go write. Fill out a timesheet like you’re punching a clock. If you’re not writing when you’re supposed to, put yourself on a performance improvement plan. Start or join a writing group that meets regularly to help keep you accountable (plus being around other creatives keeps you creative).
Just like any other job, there should be rules. Writing time is writing time. Turn the wifi off on your laptop so you’re not tempted to check your social media accounts. Also, if you use Google Docs like me being disconnected from the internet takes away the distraction of squiggly lines correcting your spelling and grammar. Most importantly, turn the TV off. You may think you’re a mistress of multitasking, but I promise the words flow better without the distraction.
Congrats on your new job!