Writing with a Full Time Job

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Whether you’re working full time at an office or a full time parent, it gets even more complicated when you add writing into the mix. And whether this is your first novel or fourth novel, it’s likely to still be a daily struggle. But that doesn’t mean that it’s at all impossible or a dreadful task.

Let’s face the reality of it: it takes a lot to write full time. And some of us just aren’t there yet, but that doesn’t take anything away from the work we do. As many of you know, I work full time and write as well. It’s been that way every day since I graduated high school.

We’re all at different aspects of our life when it comes to our jobs and when it comes to writing. Maybe this is your first novel, and you don’t know where you’re going afterwards. Or maybe (like me) this is a part of your career that you want to dedicate the time and effort towards. Regardless, I think the overall steps to being successful are the same. Too much work and you’re overwhelmed and frustrated. Too little work and you fall behind and, again, you’re frustrated.

So then how does anybody do it? How do writers work all day (or all night) long and then go home and work more (but on a different task: writing)?

  • Time -we’re talking time management and just an overall understanding of the time you have in a day. If you like to look at the bigger picture plan for the whole week. Take a look at when you’re working for your job and then focus on what time you have left to write. Writing doesn’t require a set time. You can write anywhere, but it’s up to you to figure out when works best.
  • Planning -plan ahead. If you’re not a big planner, maybe take it day by day, but try to plan your day out. If you set up a plan then you can rearrange it as need be. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished (specifically with your writing) can be moved to the next day and etc.
  • Work first, write later -always put your job and your family first. Set your priorities. Sometimes you won’t be able to write when you planned to. Accept that you’re going to need to be flexible with yourself.
  • It’s okay to take breaks -there I said it. Take a break once in a while. Heck, if you have to, take a break for a week! If you’re on vacation, enjoy it with your loved ones. If you’re having a stressful day, let your writing wait for tomorrow. You’re going to need breaks from your writing, just like anyone else.
  • Set realistic goals -perhaps the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing was set goals. And not just any kind of goals, but realistic ones. If it’s a busy month at work, lower that word count goal. If you have days off raise your expectations. Never be afraid to set goals, even if they seem small or insignificant, because when you’re able to check it off and move to the next one, that’s going to fuel your creativity.

While those five tips might not cover everything, I think that gives you the big picture. It’s definitely not impossible. I know a lot of writers who work and write, and I also know several writers who write full time. At the end of the day if you have a novel you truly want to write nothing is going to hold you back. You’ll find a way to work with the free time you have and get things done. Some days are harder than others, but you have to believe in yourself and the story you’re telling.

Leave a comment below and let me know, are you full time working and writing? Or do you write full time? And let me know if you’d like more posts like this in the future!

Lindsey Richardson

Cursed With Power 4 year anniversary

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September 7th holds so much importance to me. Every year on this date I wake up and am blown away by the facts in front of me. This is all real, and it’s not just a dream anymore.

Since this is my first time talking about Cursed With Power on this new blog I wanted to talk about journey that brought me to where I am today. Some of you might have heard it before, but there’s always details I left out before, and I’m also talking about the future of my writing. Thank you in advance for reading what might end up being a long post.

The idea for Cursed With Power first came to me in the summer of 2010. This was during a time period where I literally could not find a book idea to stick with. I tried out so many different plots, characters, and none of them lasted. Many ended up on Inkpop (a writing website where you can share your story online for others to read), but in the end none of them last more than a few chapters.

Celestria’s story, though, was different. Right away from the beginning I was determined to write the story. I put aside everything else I had been working on. Those novels didn’t capture me in the way Celestria’s did. I like to refer to CWP as “Celestria’s story” a lot because it really feels like her story. She might not be real, but after all the years I dedicated to her and the story that she narrated, she’s as real as any fictional character can get.

Despite all the praise I give Celestria, she was not always the perfect character. Actually for the longest time when I first started this book she and I did not get along. I could not figure out her character for the longest time. (I think I talked about it sometimes on my old blog…) It was pretty rough for awhile, and I’m not sure at exactly what point I finally figured out her character.

Keep in mind I did all of this while in high school. That all plays a part in this too, because in my senior year (class of 2012!) I enrolled in a G/T independent research class. And my independent research became my book. I researched everything I could about Transylvania –the setting of CWP–in the 1500s. It wasn’t easy, and sometimes even my teacher was at a loss of where we could look. But eventually I found more of the material I was looking for, and it was in this class that I then started rewriting Cursed With Power. This was the major rewrite, though I can’t say if this was the last.

In the very, very early versions of CWP Alaire Sencler was no more than a minor character. Leal Irvine actually ended up having more of a role than Alaire. And during this major rewrite I did it switched. Alaire’s potential became clear to me, and thus he ended up joining Celestria in her journey.

Fast forward through countless rejections. I continued editing and rewriting every time sometime told me “eh, it’s not for me.” It wasn’t until nearing my graduation that I finally received an acceptance letter and learned my book would finally be getting published *insert screams of joy here*. And then it wasn’t until another 9 months that the book was released (due to one last major edit [with the help of my editor] and interior and cover design).

Four years is a long time. So much has changed since I was an 18 year old with my first book published. I’m married now, soon to be moving to an entirely different state, and we have three cats who run around and keep me busy. I work full time and write. My writing career didn’t officially start until Cursed With Power was published, but since then I’ve only set my goals even higher.

I’m 22 now with four books published. My fifth book, Clara and Claire, is something entirely new and separate from the Magicians series, and that’ll be releasing (hopefully) before the end of 2016. Every year since CWP I’ve released a book. And the Magicians series and Clara and Claire are only the beginning. I have so many plans for the future, so many stories I want to write, and I’m going to be sharing every moment of it with you.

Now I know this post was long, but I write a post up every year on this day as a reminder. Dreams don’t always have to be dreams. Follow them and be passionate about what you love. If you take anything away from this, don’t give up.

Thank you to everyone who supports my writing. I’ve been writing since I was 12, and I love that now I have people to share the experience with.

(Reminder, I’ll be posting again later tonight about editing day 2.)

Lindsey Richardson

Haven’t read Cursed With Power or the complete Magicians series? Don’t worry, the entire series is available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon (and everywhere else online where books are sold). Find all my books on my Amazon author page

Bullet Journal

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Yesterday I read about this thing called a “bullet journal” on Twitter. This was my first time reading about it, and when authors were talking about how they even used it to help with writing related material I had to find out more. So I rushed over to Pinterest and did a lot of research. I’ve started my own bullet journal (hence the poorly photographed image at the top). It’s not the greatest, and thankfully those who have done this before are reminding me the first time won’t be perfect. But I have a lot of ideas coming together of what I want this to be –especially for long term usage and productivity.

For those of you –like me up until yesterday–that haven’t heard about a bullet journal, here’s the best explanation I’ve got so far. A bullet journal is in some ways like a diary. Except in a diary you include long and short excerpts of your life for your own purpose –whether it be reflecting, expressing yourself, etc. A bullet journal is made with a purpose to help you day by day, week by week, month by month. Honestly whatever purpose you want it to serve is up to you. So far in mine I’ve been taking it day by day because I’m still trying to get the hang of it.

Maybe there’s dates you want to remember, certain tasks you need to complete, a crazy week you need to plan ahead for, or even a quote you saw on a specific day you want to remember. Bullet journaling is for all of this and more. It’s hard to explain it all in one post. I read through a lot of blogs and websites before I even attempted to start mine. And even now as I type this post I’m still not sure how to feel about my own at the moment.

I journaled a lot when I was younger. I used to keep diaries, and I could fill those up easily. But as I grew older diaries became too difficult to keep up with. Some days nothing happened. Sometimes I would go weeks without having the time, patience, or desire to write anything in my diary. But with this bullet journal… I feel like it’s the perfect combination of purpose, organization and customization for me. With everything that’s happening as this year slowly comes to an end I definitely want to start looking ahead. And with my bullet journal my goal is to somehow have it serve a purpose for my personal life and my writing career. If I can make this work this is something I could continue in the future to help with writing projects and etc.

I hesitated writing this post because I’m no expect on bullet journaling, and I definitely don’t know what I’m doing with mine at the moment. (So far I just have this week planned out, and I’m playing around with customization. I think I need thin sharpies… hmmm…) But with all the positive feedback and encouragement from other writers who are also familiar with bullet journaling, I wanted to share the beginning of my exploration into the subject. Once I actually have something more solid (than two or three pages) that I feel confident enough to share I’ll talk more about how I’m using it specifically for my writing projects. (Next week especially with my plans to work on the feedback from my beta readers I want to have ready…)

But in the meantime while I’m still figuring this out, tell me if you’ve ever tried bullet journaling. How do you use yours, whether it be for personal or writing related? I’d especially love to see ideas on what to do so it serves a purpose for writing projects.

I’ll be returning with another post on Wednesday, August 31st, with my end of the month post and hopefully some brief news on beta reader feedback (and what work awaits me)!

Lindsey Richardson