By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for aspiring novelists is lack of time. Since it can be difficult for novelists to support themselves on their writing alone—especially unpublished novelists—most of them need to work at a full-time job just to pay the bills. That’s 35 or 40 hours gone every week, plus time spent commuting, taking care of children, doing household chores.
So how does a novelist with a full-time job find the time to write? The secret is carving out a block of time each and every week.
For most employed people, the best time to write, uninterrupted, is the weekend. When I was writing my own novel (while working at a full-time job), I tried to write every Saturday morning. Of course, life sometimes interfered, and I didn’t have the chance to write on Saturday mornings; when that happened, I rescheduled my writing session for Saturday afternoon or Sunday. The important thing was that I tried to write every (or almost every) weekend. I also tried to write in the same quiet place, alone, where I wouldn’t be distracted.
Each week, after I finished writing, I booked the next writing session in my day timer for the following Saturday. Then, after I finished writing each chapter (in long hand!), I typed and printed it out on my computer. After I left work each afternoon, I used the time spent commuting on the bus to review the printed pages for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, and I made corrections (and reprinted the pages) when I got home.
Finally, I tried to set realistic deadlines for the various stages of creating a novel: writing an outline, doing research, completing drafts, and just about everything else. I booked each of these deadlines in my day timer so that I didn’t have an excuse to forget about them. Of course, I often had to revise these deadlines, but I was still able to complete an outline in four months, research in three months, and three drafts of the manuscript in three years.
So, it’s possible to complete a novel while working at a full-time job, but you need to commit the time (however small), space, and energy to make it happen.
Want to Read More?
Check out Ali Luke’s article, “How to Stay Sane While Building Your Writing Career Part Time,” at http://thewritelife.com/stay-sane-building-writing-career-part-time/
If you wrote a novel while working at a full-time job, how did you make it happen? Your comments are welcome!
Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/
or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas
photo credit: Alan Cleaver Time to go home via Photopin (license)
2 thoughts on “How to Write Novels When You Work Full-Time”
Kathleen, you have described the discipline of the art. I am but a poet, someone who can describe the weather around the mountain. You, the novelist, are the one who scales and conquers the mountain. Here is to the next rotation round ol Sol.
Thanks so much for your comments. Kathleen