Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Balancing Work and Writing

We’d love to just read and write all the time, but we’ve got to pay the bills, right? Ever feel your day job conflicting with your writing schedule? Maybe your everyday “career” couldn’t be more different from your writing career?

I typically don’t bring up work on my blog, but when it pertains to my writing I make an exception. I’ve been pretty swamped lately as I’ve changed jobs from working at Google to working at Facebook, and my Tech Writing position has gradually morphed into a Project Management type position. Needless to say, I’m trying to balance creating a new routine while still finding time to get my daily reading/writing binge satisfied.  

So how do you do it? How do you get your writing done without biting the day job hand that feeds you? How do you balance everything out and still maintain a personal life? 


  1. Ooo, that is a tough question.

    I travel a lot for my job and my luck at airports is non existent, so I get a good amount of writing in then.

    I also don't sleep very much :)

  2. Hello Mark:
    We feel very fortunate that, as we no longer have to work, our days can be filled as we wish. This, we recognise, is a wonderful luxury but we can recommend retirement wholeheartedly!!

  3. Hello Mark:

    I am glad that I am not the only one who has discovered that the day does not have enough hours in it. To tell you the truth I am way behind in reading and doing the things I really like to do. My work is very demanding too. I try to take advantage of slow times to check blogs and write. Once a week I try to go to a writing group. I imagine that writing a novel would require uninterrupted writing...that is how it was when I was writing my thesis.

    Still, it is not hopeless. I think the key is to carve out the time each day. Now, I better listen to my own advice.

    WIshing you balance!

  4. Just by doing a block of writing in the evening. I did NaNo last year and let's just say my wife was very patient. Also wrote a lot on the weekends. Now balancing the blogging... let's just say I'm glad I can do it from work as well as home!

  5. I was doing pretty good until I learned all about the need to prepare an online presence, and it takes a lot of my free time. I love meeting and interacting with other writers online, but it does take away from my writing time.

    But I know of a writer who managed to write a book that's been published by writing 15 minutes a day. That encourages me.

  6. Obviously the family and job come first, but I think most people who work full-time jobs carve out time on the weekends, or they go without an extra hour of sleep so they can write late at night or early in the morning. You really can get a lot done during one focused hour of writing a day.

  7. This year with two in school and one child who naps, I've made the afternoons my "writing" time and that's worked well. I do think you have to be flexible with how you fit things in. Different times of the year, different stages in life will allow for more writing and sometimes they allow for less, and that's okay.

  8. You don't sleep. No, but seriously, I don't think there is a real answer for this we all have to carve out our time in the way we see best. I hope things work out for you!

  9. This is not an easy thing. It's hard balancing time with a hectic schedule. I get very little sleep.

  10. It's a challenge! You have to make some sacrifices. I shared some tips on my blog a while back on how I balance everything so maybe it'll help you: Good luck!

  11. I hear you loud and clear. I wake up at the crack of dawn to get some blogging in. From 7 to 3:30 I have to work. There are short spurts during the day when I get to blog a little. Somewhere in there I have to squeeze in a workout so I don't keel over dead form a heart attack. Then I go home and tend to the family. It leaves me about 1 1/2 hours for writing on a good day. The rest of the evening I try to devote to my husband. You have to take time for your spouse. As far as I'm concerned that's at the top of the list. I hardly have time for reading. And I do realize the importance of that. What I can I do on the weekends, when I'm not writing. It's not easy to balance it all. And heck yeah I would love to write for a living and forget about the day job. Unfortunately, that's what pays the bills. :) Good luck finding the balance that fits you.

  12. Kelley – It’s true that you can get in a lot while traveling…I’ve written quite a bit on public transit:)

    Jane/Lance – Wow, sounds ideal. Prob won’t get there for a while myself, but glad that you are there:)

    LittleJeans – Thanks for the good vibes and wishing me balance. A little good karma goes a long way!

    Alex – Good point, balancing blogging in there can be crazy enough. And a patience spouse is a must…glad I have one too:)

    Donna – Neat experiment, I could see someone publishing based on 15 min a day, but it would just take a long time. Of course, most of us seem to keep going on an hour or two a day, so there you have it;)

    L.G. – Yes, family def comes first, and yes (grudgingly...the job too;) It’s true that you can get a lot of good writing squeezed into an hour.

    Stacy – I’m not quite at that stage of life, but it’s a good idea. Nap time = writing time…very cool.

    J.A. – Yup, sometime cutting back on sleep works, but I find I work better when refreshed. But when under the gun, yes working during sleep hours keeps the writing/editing going.

    Miranda – I feel for you. Hope you get some sleep:)

    Ghenet – I’ll check it out, thanks!

    Laila – Sounds like you’ve got a demanding, but fulfilling schedule. 1.5 hrs a day isn’t bad though, it’s a pretty good ethic you’ve got going:)Thanks for the good luck!

  13. Ugh...when I figure it out, I'll pass it on? I always had the problem with a day job, and now my day job is kids. Stupidly, I thought it would be more possible with kids. I did figure out a routine that really worked for my daughter and I last year, but things got changed up this year and she goes to school a couple of hours, which has thrown a wrench into last year's schedule. I'll figure out a new one and make it a routine, and that should help. So I guess for me it's all about getting a routine established. As well as rewards. I got to relax in the evenings when I was accomplishing some writing, and it was just so satisfying, which is a reward in itself.