Treat Writing Like A Second Job

Oh dear. Sorry for the inadvertent silence! Some professional interests and, you know, life things have been competing for my time. I shall aim to be better about getting around here more often.

When you work 40 hours a week like I do, it can be hard to carve out time for writing. (See aforementioned blog silence.) I try to write every day, at least for a little bit, but things often get in the way. I’m always on the look out for advice and so I thought I’d start up an off and on series about balancing writing and a full time job, composed of advice I’ve encountered.

The first in the series comes from novelist Ellen Baker. I attended a reading for her latest book, I Gave My Heart to Know This, about a week ago at Nicola’s. Baker, who worked as a museum curator and bookseller before selling her first novel, shared that she motivated herself by treating her writing as a second part-time job. Every week she challenged herself to write for at least twenty hours, keeping track of the time she worked to hold herself responsible. (Bless her for admitting that she sometimes fell short of her goal, with only seventeen or so hours.) I think this is great advice and plan to follow it for myself.

Writing can feel frivolous, especially if you haven’t published very much. Holding yourself accountable for the hours you work at writing is a good trick for keep your commitment alive. Because of course it is a second job.

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2 Comments

Filed under The After Hours Writer, This Business of Writing

2 responses to “Treat Writing Like A Second Job

  1. JK

    Oh those life things. They do interfere. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think finding extra time to write is doubly hard when you have a bookish job. Your brain is tired, you’ve been up to your elbows in books all day. But I admire your determination, and am excited for the results!

  2. This is very true!

    I made a Blue Rodeo reference in a recent poem. If it ever sees the light of day, you’ll know who deserves the credit (you)!

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