5 Ways to Find Time to Write When You Work Full Time

Written by A Guest Author

By Brandie June

Whenever I hear writers complaining that they can never find the time to write, I have to wonder how hard they are trying to find that precious time. And I get it. I wish I had all the time in the world and could sit in front of my computer all day creating stories. But that’s not my reality. Like many writers out there, I have a full-time job to support myself. It does make it challenging to find the time to write, but by no means is this an impossible task. What I’ve found to work best is to carve out pockets of time and do that consistently. By carving out these small pieces of time, I managed to write a 100K word rough draft of my current novel in six months. Here are five ways to find time to write while working full-time.

  1. Wake up an Hour (Or Even 20 Minutes) Earlier

I used to be addicted to my snooze button. The extra ten minutes in my warm bed always felt like a small slice of heaven. But then I realized I was throwing away an opportunity to write. In those days, I told myself I would write when I got home from work. But that rarely happened. Instead, I’d get home tire and worn out. All I wanted to do was eat dinner and go to bed.

Early in the morning, before I have to get ready for work, I can write without any distraction and before I feel overly tired from the day. Now I get up an hour before having to get ready for work, make myself a cup of coffee and enjoy the peace and quite as I get some words on paper. This way, I already feel like I’ve accomplished something as a writer before I even leave for work.

And if you’re thinking: An hour? Yeah right! I barely get enough sleep as it is! Then modify it to what works for you. When I have late nights, sometimes I only manage to get up twenty minutes earlier, but I make sure to use that time to write. A few sentences will start to add up to a story, but a blank page will remain a blank page. 

  1. Hide During Your Lunch Break

I view my lunchbreak as a glorious, golden hour where I can get away from both my job and my personal life. At least several times a week, I will quickly eat at my desk while getting work done and then take my lunchbreak to go across the street to a café and spend forty-five minutes drinking tea and writing. Sometimes I don’t even make it to the café and hide out in my car with my laptop. The important thing is to get away from my office. When I tried to write at my desk, people would naturally assume I was working on job-related tasks, and I would constantly be interrupted. The breakroom was not much better, as it was often noisy, and I felt rather self-conscious ignoring my fellow coworkers while they chatted and ate. I found that I needed to get away from my office to give myself the quiet to write. It’s become a staple of mine, and even now I’m writing this article hidden away on my lunch break. In addition to getting in some writing time, I’ve found that I feel more refreshed about going back to work for the latter half of the day when I’ve taken some time away to do some fun and creative writing.

  1. Utilize Your Commute Time

My commute can be a nightmare! On average, it takes me an hour to get to work. I hated the idea of ten hours of my week lost to sitting in my car. Fortunately, I found a way to make the time productive. Now, I’m not saying you should try writing while driving. In fact, I am definitely against such an endeavor, but there are ways to utilize your commute time. If you take public transit instead of driving, then by all means pull out the paper and pen on your way to work. And if you’re like me and do drive, consider that time you can be mulling over story ideas. A friend once suggested I do audio dictation in car, though that never worked for me, I have plotted out several stories while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. I also HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of audiobooks! As a writer, I find it critical to be well-read. I read a ton in the genre I write, but also as a means of research and to improve my craft. When I have an audiobook playing in my car, I’m no longer wasting two hours of my day, but rather spending it ‘reading’ a book. Most of the books I go through a year (and last year I got through 65 books) are on audio. And if cost is an issue, see what audiobooks are available through your library.

  1. Set Aside 2 Hours on the Weekend (And Put It on Your Calendar!)

For some reason, putting something on my calendar makes it about a hundred times more likely that I’ll do it than if I don’t put it on my calendar. It feels like it’s more official. That’s why I often put two hours on the calendar on the weekends for time that I will be writing. I share this calendar with my husband so he knows that I’m not to be disturbed during that time. That writing time becomes an official activity and not just wishful thinking. It also helps me to plan my day around it.

  1. Join a Weekly Writing Group

There is a special kind of encouragement that comes from accountability. I am part of a weekly writing group that is an informal get together with some of my writing buddies. Every Wednesday we meet up after work for a few hours to catch up and write. Knowing that there are people expecting to see me, means I am far more likely to show up than if I was going to try to write on my own after work. On my own, it becomes too easy to come up with excuses. I’m tired will almost always win me over if I’m own my own. But if others are expecting me, then I show up. An added bonus to joining or forming a writing group is that it also helps you create a writing community, friends to bounce ideas off of. You get people that will cheer you on in your writing career as you cheer for them.

I hope these tips help you on your writing journey. And while none of these suggestions will give you unlimited time to write, they will give you consistent and regular times to write. And if you keep writing, even in small pockets of time, eventually it will add up and you will have the book written.


Bio: Brandie June has an M.B.A. from UCLA and finds having a marketer’s perspective extremely helpful with her work marketing films and her role as an author and playwright. She has written several stories for anthologies and her novel is on submission. Brandie has spoken at writing conferences throughout Southern California. You can visit her website at www.brandiejune.com or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheOriginalBrandieJune/.

 

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