To Writers Who Work Full-Time

I heard about a writer today who has the opportunity to take a break from full time employment when he’s writing a book (which takes him a year).  This is because he has a partner who supports him.  I was once told by another writer that success wouldn’t happen until I dedicated myself full time to writing, as ‘you can’t do it part time’.

That’s all very well and good, but I’m not being supported financially and I’m not someone who thrives on stress.  Therefore, I have two choices.  Wait until I’m retired to write or buckle down and get on with it now.  The former is not an option.  I’m left with the latter.

It’s not ideal to be working full time and writing around your day job (or night job, as the case may be), but it can be done.  It requires focus and perseverance.  It requires carving out a small amount of time consistently and committing to that writing time.  There are times when you wonder why you do it.  There are times when you consider giving it up.  There are times when you have a choice between sleep and another chapter or two and you take the sleep.  But you keep going.

What keeps you going is that you want to do it.  Who knows why, or how, but you do.  Being told you need to commit to it full time doesn’t help and isn’t worth worrying about.  Smile kindly, take what’s helpful in the advice and get back to your work. 

It’s your life, and you only get one.  When you get to eighty and you’re looking back on it, do you want to be saying that you gave up because you couldn’t do it like you would have preferred?  Hell no!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. janettedalgliesh
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 17:27:17

    Yah, full-time schmull-time…

    John Grisham famously scribbled his first novel into exercise books during breaks in his working day, and HE did alright!! In fact, it’s said that many writers go into freak-out overwhelm when they finally get the big block of time which they’ve always CLAIMED is the only thing they need in order to finish their Great Opus.

    And I personally know at least one full-time writer who has kept her 1-day per week waitress job because it gives her contact with people, etc, and I reckon that’s great.

    However, I do sometimes think that having a less absorbing day job might help me. It’s not just the time, it’s the energy available. And the mental space.

    But as for needing all my time to write? Pah! 🙂


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