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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Can You Really Write And Punch the Clock?

Woman at Work - Maria A Smith 

When I hear about folks who hold down jobs and have a string of published novels or a successful online writing business, I want to congratulate them. If that's you, pat yourself on the back, you're awesome! I'm guessing you've made huge sacrifices in the form of time spent with family and friends, and sleep deprivation.

Alternatively, you could be a very calm and focused individual who is highly organised. You see your situation differently. You're a writer on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings, but you're also a nurse, florist, Police Officer, engineer, waitress, or a teacher. Not to mention being a wife, husband, or parent. You've got it sussed.

Most of us find it incredibly hard juggling everything. When I told a friend I was struggling, she said, 'you're the busiest person I know, you don't stop, it's like you've got a full-time job and then you go to your part-time job.' Alas, it's true I'm busy, but that comment got me to thinking. I'm not just busy - I'm overwhelmed. Perhaps you are too?

This isn't just a writer thing, but unfortunately, we seem to get a bigger dose of overwhelm than most. There's so much to do. When we're not writing, we're supposed to be promoting ourselves through social media or coming up with fresh ideas for blog posts. Our brain jumps around with our next idea, adding to our 'to do' list, and we're at the point where it's becoming ever more difficult to sit and focus on scheduled writing time.


We need to figure out our goals, our timelines and our priorities.

1. Don't pile any more things onto your 'to do' list. Instead, look at what you can cut, and keep your list short. Agree you'll do at least one thing on your list each day, this way you'll see progress, and it won't seem so overwhelming.

2. Address any bad habits that hamper your productivity - Checking and responding to emails as they come in, spending hours on Twitter or Facebook, or finding things to do to get out of the task in hand. Even housework!

3. Get rid of what's holding you back - List everything that you believe is stopping you from writing. and deal with it. This could be something like getting a cleaner to do the chores, or ending a toxic friendship.

4. Let go of destructive emotions such as resentment. Stop using the quick fix route for a problem, all you're doing is delaying dealing with it until the next time. Regardless of if it's someone taking up your time, or a dodgy laptop you need to get to the root cause, and deal with it now. Resentment, anger and fear are all connected - if you don't deal with it you'll be stuck in a self obsessed circle. Stop being afraid of what someone will say, or act, or how much it's going to cost to repair or replace that laptop. Stop being afraid of the future.

Whatever it is that is keeping you from being your best, subtract it from your life. If you need to work, and the majority of us do, then find a way to fit your writing around your work and family life. Who knows, if you do enough maybe you won't need that day job anymore.

Pease do share  any tips you may have, here in the comments.
Thank you.

18 comments:

  1. I've been fortunate to have had part-time jobs to accommodate my writing. It's not been easy all the time, and for several years I probably should have been in full-time employment. But I have faith in my writing, and (now) my ability to economise severely!

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    1. Next year, my youngest will be done with University, and I'm hoping I can think about part-time hours.
      I think I could get good at economising.

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  2. Hi Maria - pass I'm afraid ... but at least you are occupied. Only do what needs to be done - leave the rest ... til those dust bunnies are turning into bears - then perhaps do something other than writing!!! Cheers and take care ... Hilary

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    1. Hilary, your reply made me smile. I shall think of you whenever I see those dust bunny/bears.

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  3. I often feel overwhelmed by everything; it helps to know I'm not the only one feeling like that. I have pretty much mothballed my allotment this year - but we did pick up a new puppy today so no doubt that will take up all the extra time! I have been putting off sorting out my laptop for ages, I really MUST get around to it soon. I would so love to have more time and peace and quiet, it's always a struggle and I do so admire people who seem to do everything, they're very inspirational. Hope you have a good week with a little writing time here and there. CJ xx

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    1. We seem to be doing too much, and even when we free up a bit of time, something else falls into the space.
      I'll come over to your blog later in the week to see how you are getting on with the puppy.

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  4. I was a single mum many years ago, and had a part time job. I used to write in the evenings when he was asleep. But I am not successful by any stretch of the imagination.

    I think that mostly it is ourselves that hold us back. Our expectations, doubt and comparisons.

    Keep going Maria. You will get there. Focus yourself on what you want and go for it. You can get it. Good luck, and looking forward to seeing how you go forward!

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  5. I recognise that, even though I'm at home there are still demands on my time, so I set myself small targets. Some days I fail, but other days I make up for it. The important thing is you keep making progress and getting the words down. x

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    1. Agreed Carol, and I also agree 'home' can have it's distractions too.

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  6. I love the photo, Maria. Are you a train driver?!

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    1. Nooo, I sell parts to fix the trains. :-)

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  7. I am in awe of those writers who have a day job as well. I'm amazed they have enough energy left st the end of the day to write.

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    1. Being a writer is hard work too though Wendy, as you well know. :-)

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  8. I split my work time into word-based jobs and yoga-based jobs. It can be hard, but it gives me the freedom to switch the balance as needs must.

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    1. That's a great way of doing it though...

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  9. I used to work full time and write. I shall award myself a retrospective pat on the back.

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    1. I don't know how you did it Patsy, I bet your glad you don't now?

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I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!