As Indie writers, we all know just how important it is to have a “day job.” That can be virtually anything: hiring out for projects on Elance, becoming a Virtual Assistant, working at a traditional 9-5 job. Whatever work it is that you do, there is one common point all of that work will have: it takes time.
But, your writing takes time, too.
How can you blend the two in such a way that you pay your bills and continue to make your mark as an author?
Believe it or not, there’s a really simple solution: structure.
Structure can also be known as organization, but the closet drill sergeant who lives within me prefers the term structure. 🙂
1. Set a schedule.
Whether you are writing based on a daily word count, or a set amount of time each day, set a schedule whereby you will be writing at a specific time every single day. Feel free to announce this part of your schedule to EVERYONE YOU KNOW. If you have children, be sure to reiterate that you are working (especially if they are home while you write, and perceive the computer as the “holder of all things video game related.”). I find that sitting down while the kiddos are at school works best for me. On the weekends, the schedule remains the same – but I have my two children work on their homework while I work on my book.
If you have never read this blog before, you may not be aware that I am a huge fan of lists. Seriously, I love pretty much any kind of list you can think of, but to-do lists are the savior here. In my civilian life (haha), I am self-employed and basically doing boutique executive services. This is a fancy way of saying I consult, do professional writing for others, run webinars, coordinate seminars, and write curriculum. Before bed each night, I write a quick list of everything I need to accomplish the next day. During breakfast, I add to the list. I make a big deal out of every single item I cross off of that list. Today, I made 30 scheduling calls, wrote, drafted two proposals, helped with the logistics of managing 20 properties, refilled prescriptions and scheduled a surgery for my son. I feel so accomplished by the end of the day, it’s wonderful.
3. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
I am the worst at this. I want to be everywhere, all the time. Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to pull that off. Recognize that, in your busy schedule, there will be some events/activities/you name it that you will just need to skip. Prioritize (again with the lists) which activities are the most meaningful for you.
4. Be kind to yourself.
When you’re having a rough day writing, keep going. When your story doesn’t flow, keep writing. Chase the Muse, shackle the Muse in your closet if you have to, but DO NOT QUIT! No matter what, don’t give up on yourself. This is your dream, and very nearly your own identity. Follow your passion.
The bottom line is: writers write. The super OCD structure works for me, but may not be something that works for everyone. Whatever you need to do, however you need to pursue your writing, do it.
Happy Monday, and blessings to you all…