Writing, writing and writing – this is my life.
Being a full-time writer is a dream really. I never thought I’d actually get paid to do it. It’s also great to think of all those people who told me that studying writing or just being interested in it was a waste of time.
While it might not be the kind of stuff I dream about writing sometimes, I am free to make a living by picking some words and putting them in an order.
However, while this is fantastic and I’m incredibly lucky, there is one downside that I want to talk about today.
The abandonment of fiction writing
I’ve been writing fiction since I was about 6 years old. I love it and it’d be amazing if I could become a full-time novelist who sells books about castles and dragons and shit.
But in the meantime, I need to pay the bills. Writing content for businesses is a great way to do this, but it does impact my fiction writing. I can’t lie.
Yes the bill-paying writing is the priority. but fiction is important to me too.
Losing creative steam
As much as I enjoy writing, when it’s your day job, you naturally get a bit tired of it. It could be your dream job but we all have days where we would rather sit in pyjamas and eat pizza in front of Netflix all day.
After a day of writing, I find that I’ve run out of steam, creatively. When I’ve been writing all day, I even struggle to speak coherently, so me tackling a novel is kinda difficult.
Find your Golden Hours
I think the first step is to discover when you are your most energised and when you’re most tired. We’ll call the most energised/motivated time ‘Golden Hours’.
For most people, the end of a working day is when they’re most tired. That’s why people suggest doing exercise in the morning. We all know you’re not going to do it after Karen from Accounts has been glaring at you all day for eating the last cookie.
For some, after work may be their Golden Hours. If this is you, brilliant. For me, at the end of a working day, I just want to relax.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, the mornings are best for me. I am not a morning person. Or a night person either. I am barely even a person at this stage but I’ve got shit to do so I had to make a choice. Making time in the morning for creative stuff, before work, is the best option for me.
Unfortunately, we’ve all got stuff to do and writing can take a backseat. Stuff that pays the bills/affects family/career/other hobbies can take centre stage and before you know it, writing is no longer a priority. Been there, done that, done it again and repeat.
If writing fiction is important to you, you need to make time for it. You owe it to the story ideas in your head. Prioritising writing a story about dragons in your life may seem silly to many. But think of all those stories we love that happened because the writer made them a priority.
If doing your creative writing first thing in the morning helps you make it a priority, then that’s what you need to do. It’s a perfect time of day, before all the worries and responsibilities of adult life pile up on top of you and snuff out any creative spark.
That’s the best advice I can give really. Make time and show your novel/screenplay/poem the attention that it deserves. Even if that means getting up at stupid o’ clock in the morning. This time is quieter and easier to concentrate in while everyone’s still tucked up in bed anyway. Of course, this may not apply to everyone. Those writers with kids, you’re actual superheroes. I have no idea how you do it.
But overall, when you make time for the writing you actually enjoy, it’ll make you a better writer and you’ll feel much more accomplished.
How do you fit in creative writing around your day job? Do you write for a living also? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.