Writing after a day at work can call on extra reserves of energy. But don’t let that put you off. Take a positive approach to your writing to make it even more enjoyable.
For many writers, whether poets, novelists or content writers, the reality is contending with a day job. Many of us dream of changing this situation so we can spend our days writing, but that’s not always possible. Having recently returned to full-time employment for six months and trying to complete a memoir by the end of the year, I’ve had to consider how I can keep writing without too much disturbance.
It takes discipline for a writer to work at a paid job all day, then come home to attend to household and family matters before taking the time to write. Personally, now there are only two of us, I sometimes turn a blind eye to domestic chores if I have words that really must be put down on paper.
If you’re a writer with a day job, it’s best to look at your situation in a positive light. No matter what we write, there are some definite advantages to having a day job to go to. One is obviously having a steady income, as without this we may not have the security and peace of mind to throw ourselves into a writer’s life. But consider the other advantages that a writer in employment has.
Writers feed off people and interesting situations for the ideas we use in our writing. We need to be out in the community making observations and gathering material. Not only do our jobs provide us with plenty of material, but the journey to and from work also allows us to observe human behaviour that will enrich our writing.
While most of a writer’s attention is obviously focused on our employment, a true writer stays alert to writing possibilities. Snatches of conversation come our way, interesting reactions between people are in front of us all the time and unusual possibilities occur in our communities. These can be stored away for future writing. The more writers are exposed to people and events, the more future material we have a our fingertips.
However, there are also disadvantages to being a writer in full-time employment. Instead of looking at these as disadvantages we should look at ways of managing them, so that we have the energy to keep writing. And energy does seem to be the major factor. We all come home from work tired, but still need to keep going. Depending on whether we are younger with families to look after, or older and need only fend for ourselves, there are still groceries to be purchased, food to be cooked and lifestyles to be maintained. That can be quite energy draining. Throw an hour or so of writing into the equation and it sometimes becomes too much to handle.
A writer needs to be disciplined. We need to know when we can snatch the time to write according to personal circumstances. It’s important to not let other distractions get in the way. Although I know it’s not the best decision, at the moment I’ve sacrificed exercise as I work toward my memoir deadline. Others may make other decisions about time management. But, if you are a writer, you must write, every day f you can.
A day job need not mean the writing brain isn’t working. Jot down notes, let your mind work on ideas and stay alert to possibilities. Try and write every day, even if it is just ten minutes of self indulgent feeling sorry for yourself. But do keep writing.
We must remember how lucky we are to be writers and make the most of every situation. Then we won’t waste energy on the wrong things. For now I’m making the most of being a writer with a day job.