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This week’s QOTW comes from Landon, who asks, “How do you balance your day job with your writing, and how does one affect the other?”
I’m usually very disciplined in my writing, but I’ve been forced to become even more firm with myself. When I sit down to write, I know that I’ve got just a few hours before my fiance gets home, we eat dinner, relax, etc. I can maybe squeeze in an extra hour of writing/revising between dinner and bedtime. So this means I REALLY need to write, and not procrastinate. Despite the exhaustion, it’s been a wonderful exercise in discipline and dedication.
I don’t have a job, but I consider being a college student similar to an occupation. Although being a college student isn’t 9 to 5 every day, I do have some days where I wake up at 8 AM and have class until 3 PM. Then, there are other days where I have no classes at all, but I try to use those study. I try to do my homework anywhere from 6 to 10 PM, and usually that includes a few moments of writing.
I manage by having a fantabulous roommate, who thinks its AMAZING I write novels and tells me to stay up late if I’m working. What is also great about my roommate is that she makes sure I get out of the room and live. We’ll go to the movies, we’ll go out to dinner, we’ll walk around the city… She even asked me recently to edit her own novel that she wrote when she was fourteen.
I think that my “job” as a college student really helps my writing. I am more structured. I know that I have a looser schedule than others, but I still try to structure my day as if I really have a job in the real world. I am trying to prepare myself for this summer when I’ll (hopefully) have an internship and have to manage interning and writing or when I am out of college and trying to get a job. I know that in real life, most people do not have the time to write all day, so I am trying to recognize that and make sure I am ready.
Finally after LTWF came into my life I felt like a real writer again, and after a few false starts I’ve finally settled onto a concept I can make a book out of. I’m still trying to figure out my day-to-day; I’m lucky that my day job doesn’t follow me home at night too much anymore, so after dinner I usually hole up in my room and write if I’m inspired, while my fiance works in the kitchen. I definitely don’t get as much writing done as I used to, and that’s something I’m working on. I hope to be perfectly balanced with a routine and everything later this year.
I wrote the most during high school – that was what I would consider my most “prolific” time. During my undergrad, I completely stopped writing, although I did write down any ideas or lines that would come to my head. Creatively, I was on hiatus; once I switched out of Visual Arts, my art was put on the backburner, along with my writing. I had school and 2 part-time jobs; any spare time that I had was devoted to having some sort of social life. It wasn’t until my final year that I picked up writing again, but the little writing I did was very sporadic.
Now, with an internship, more school, and a part-time job, I still have very little time to write. I find that I write the most at night, right before bed. While I don’t write as much as I used to (I would normally write one chapter a week in high school, and now I’ll write only a scene or two per week), at least I write when I can. Balancing my writing and a day job is definitely complicated. But so long as you set aside some time, and find a nice quiet place to work, you’ll be able to move ahead with your manuscript (no matter how slow the crawl is). Writing hasn’t really affected my day job or school, but the “day job” (aka internship/school/PT job) certainly affects my writing. I’m sure once I stop having school and work, I’ll be able to find more time to write. The same could be said for my art, especially painting – once I have more free time on my hands, I’m sure I’ll get back to my art.
Place my writing and day job on a balancing scale and my writing will always outweigh the other. At work I daydream, I plot in my head, I observe others so to incorporate their attribute into my story one day–and in my scatterbrain state I drop wine glasses, break them, mess up orders while working at the reception desk, infuriate my manager, piss off co-workers when I get caught for jotting down notes for WIP when I should be looking like a flower as customers enter the restaurant…. Yes. There is little to no balance. But fortunately the people I work with are good at heart. So for the three years that I’ve been working at the restaurant I have never felt the threat of being fired. I guess I’m just a lucky duck.
I don’t have a day job; I’m still in high school. And over school, writing will almost always take precedent. When I feel the inspiration to write but have homework, I’ll either push the work to the side or, if I’m feeling particularly guilty, procrastinate, the whole time imagining how I could be weaving crazy scenes as opposed to be “doing homework”. It’s a vicious cycle of getting nothing done. Of course, if I have some extremely important assignment to do, I’ll do that first, but generally you can find me in the library at lunch time catching up.
So, all you writers out there, how do YOU balance your day job with your writing, and how does one affect the other?