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

Editing at home: Day Three

day3-2Day three. (Technically day four because it’s 2am, but hey, who’s counting?)

Today has been overwhelming. My brain decided halfway through editing to change up a scene in one of the later chapters, and it’s a pretty huge change. It’s the kind of change where for the rest of the day you’re writing it out instead of going over what’s already there in front of you. That’s how I ended up at what’s now a 100k total novel. Scary!

But in all fairness I don’t regret it. I spent a lot of time on this today, and I’m feeling good about it. It’s something I’m excited for. I have a little more to add onto the beginning of chapter 26, but after that I think I’ll be golden.

So as of right now I’m on chapter 26 out of 37 total chapters. I’m really hoping I can finish 11 whole chapters tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy day, since I also have to finish packing up the rest of the house. I’m just not sure how busy I’ll be Saturday with moving and getting the cats settled, so I’d rather just finish everything tomorrow and be done with it. We’ll see how it goes.

The only reason I’m stopping tonight is because of how late it is, and I’m feeling braindead. I just don’t have the energy right now. Tomorrow morning (this morning) I plan on starting early, and I’ll have coffee, so it’s really promising. I can’t guarantee anything, but before the end of Friday you’ll know if I got everything done or not. *panic mode activated*

Today’s post is really short in comparison to my last two, but I promise tomorrow (especially if I finish) I’ll have more to talk about because then it’ll be one less thing off my plate. And it’ll mean we’re moving even closer to publication, which always leaves me feeling excited!

Hope to hear from you guys tomorrow on my final day of vacation (aka free editing time). Definitely send good vibes your way if you’re in the middle of writing or editing! It’s a crazy time of the year. Here’s to hoping it all works out.

Lindsey Richardson

Editing at home: Day Two

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Day two of editing has officially ended for me. I almost quit a little earlier than last night, but it was raining tonight, so I decided to keep going. Today has been a really busy but productive day.

As of right now where I’m leaving off for the night I’m on chapter 19. Keep in mind, there’s 37 chapters in total. So I still have a lot to do, but I accomplished more today than I expected. Tomorrow it looks like I’m definitely going to need to work just as hard (if not more), and then Friday finish up and do one last final skim through. I don’t think I’ll have the time this weekend to edit more, so I really want Friday to be my final day, and then send it to my editor Friday night or sometime Saturday.

The editing I’m doing right now (and for the rest of the week) is the hardest part of editing. It’s the kind where at first you’re like “yes, I’m doing this!” and then that turns into “is this over yet?!” It’s frustrating and somewhat exciting all at once.

I’ve been working on a lot of rewriting of scenes and some paragraphs. It’s amazing how your betas can understand exactly what you wanted to say in a scene, even if you didn’t get there entirely the first time around. So I rewrote the beginning of one chapter to make it more emotional, and then for the rest of the day I’ve been reading through and working with character dialogue too.

If anything this process makes it interesting to see just how much my writing has changed over the years. Even over the (almost) year I’ve been working on this book. Clara and Claire has been through so many changes, but they’re all for the better. And this point I’m polishing up the plot and the characters to make sure this is as ready as it’ll ever be for my editor.

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat I’ve been posting a lot of pictures and videos of my progress. Sometimes it’s just easier to get the point across in pictures than words. And it makes me feel more obligated to keep working when I’m sharing it with you guys.

I thought I was going to have more to say in this post, but it is late, and I think I’ll have more to share tomorrow. To be honest I almost skipped this post entirely, but I didn’t want to skip out on the opportunity to document the day (and share the experience with you, of course).

But if you’re a curious writer or reader, like me, here’s some of what I’ve been thinking while editing today:

  • how did my paragraphs end up being so long? (I don’t remember having this issue in the past… must be something new I’ve picked up)
  • lots of semi-colons… more than I remember (again, where did this come from?!)
  • the cats fight/play a lot when I edit…
  • *deletes whole sentence and writes up entirely new one*
  • *plays music quietly in the background to not lose sanity*
  • “I’ll save that for tomorrow.”

Thanks again if you’ve been stopping by for the updates, and if you’re a writer who’s also editing, feel free to copy my strategy and share the process on your blog. I love sharing this with you guys, so you know exactly what’s going into the book.

Until tomorrow…!

Lindsey Richardson

P.S. I think this is a new record: 2 posts all in one day (yeah it’s technically past midnight here, but shh…)!

Editing at home: Day One

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I’m calling this my DIY editing retreat. A whole week off from work to focus solely on Clara and Claire. With a clear goal set in my head (and down on paper somewhere too), I’m determined to finish everything this week. One lesson that’s perhaps the hardest one to learn is that you can’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. It leads to disappointment and madness. So fortunately I looked over everything my betas gave me, and I realized this is a goal I can realistically accomplish. No slacking, no excuses, and with the right amount of coffee, I’m set by the early AM to get started.

Last night I started working on edits, but today was my first full day of editing. So I’m calling this day one. And for anyone who’s interested in the process or what goes on behind the scenes, I wanted to share it with you.

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Today was all about paragraphs, grammar, cutting unnecessary details, etc. All that kind of stuff that naturally comes with editing. It’s the stuff I didn’t catch when I did my own edits and rewriting, and thankfully I had awesome betas who were able to point it out to me. Keep in mind this book is at 97k words total (give or take), so there’s a lot of book to go through and edit. And I decided to get this out of the way first because it’s easy to fix, and it’s just as important as anything plot related or character related that has to be addressed.

This afternoon I took a break from editing, but tonight I’m right back at it again. I’m only taking a short break right now to write up this post. But for the remainder of tonight, and leading into tomorrow, I’m going to be focusing on everything else. The questions, suggestions, any uncertainties, etc. Anything with characters, dialogue, or specific scenes/chapters I want to address (and fix).

In the picture up above I tried to show a little glimpse into the journal I’m using. (Shoutout to Kate Spade for making a pretty and useful journal that I’ve been using since almost the beginning of this novel.) Since we don’t have a printer at home, I wrote everything important that my betas mentioned that I want to either fix, rework, delete, or strengthen.  It took up several pages, and now the remainder of the pages I’m just working out different ideas for certain parts that have to be reworked or any questions that were left unanswered.

No one said this was going to be done in a day, and sadly with editing it feels like it’s never over. But I feel like I made a huge amount of progress today. Knowing that now I can just read through the entire book and focus directly on certain scenes, characters, or paragraphs is a relief. Some of these bigger reworks I’m doing (in terms of with a character or scene) I might be sharing later on this week or next, so I can share my own advice on how I worked through it. I’ve been reading up a lot lately on editing posts, so if you have any good ones on your blog (or someone else’s), link them in the comments.

Tomorrow is definitely going to be a more challenging day. Grammar and rewording sentences is a lot easier than answering questions that even I might have skipped over the first, second, and third time around. But I’m hopeful, and at the end all of this work is going to pay off.

I read something that really stood out to me yesterday on a writer’s blog. When you receive the feedback from your betas, you have to ask yourself a very important question. If you’re debating on whether to use a suggestion (or answer a question) from a beta, is it because you believe it’s already been resolved or are you trying to avoid extra work? This wasn’t the exact wording on the blog obviously, but that’s the summary of it (from the best that I can remember). And it just left me thinking that you can’t be afraid of the extra work in editing. Editing isn’t meant to be easy. Some parts are, but the challenging parts are what will make the book later on either stand or fall.

I’ll post again with day two’s progress tomorrow. I think we’re in for two posts tomorrow, seeing as tomorrow is Cursed With Power‘s publication anniversary. Can you believe it’s been four years already? I’ll be sharing the whole story and more tomorrow –expect that post probably earlier in the morning, and the editing post later at night.

Lindsey Richardson