Writing for fun or for additional income when you also have a full-time job can be challenging. Even though writing can be a creative outlet that you enjoy, you also need time and energy to turn out quality writing. Family and household responsibilities also put demands on your time and you don't want to shortchange your family, so after a long day at a full-time job, how do you find the time to write?
Make writing a priority. Regardless of your reason for writing or the type of writing, if it's important to you, make it a priority as much as other commitments in your life are priorities to you. It doesn't have to be your main focus, but make time for it somewhere. It may take a little while to see what works for you, but squeezing in writing here and there will require some flexibility and creativity. It's a balancing act, but it can be done.
Create specific goals for your writing sessions so that you can start immediately and won't have to spend any time making a plan or deciding which project to focus on. Examples of specific goals would be: proofread the last book chapter you wrote, write about whatever is on your mind for forty-five minutes or write two new online articles (and leave proofreading for tomorrow's writing session).
Keep supplies (laptop, notebook, dictionary, pens) handy so you don't spend any writing time looking for them and to ensure that you always have a place to work, make sure your writing area is clear of the typical household debris that can accumulate. Also keep a notebook within reach so that if you have a few minutes and can jot down some notes or an outline, you can do it while you're thinking of it or in between activities, such as preparing dinner or tidying up the house.
Use family members' schedules to your benefit. Don't sacrifice time with family to write, if at all possible. If a child is napping on the weekends or an older child is doing homework during the week, plan to write during those times. If your partner is going to go grocery shopping and will take the kids, write while they're gone, even if it's only for twenty minutes.
If you only have time on the weekends or in the evenings to write, plan your time carefully and don't write when you know your attention will be divided. On nights when you would like to get some writing done, plan a meal that can be prepared easily and quickly or ask your partner to prepare dinner so that you can write while dinner is cooking.
Don't write at work. Keep your full-time job separate from your writing. Even if you're writing at lunch or on a break, you don't want to give anyone a reason to question your credibility and dedication to your job. Keep a notebook in your car so at the end of the work day you can take a few minutes in the parking lot before you drive home to write down any notes or ideas that you would like to remember.
If you're too tired to get any quality writing done, take a night off and go read, play a game, go to the gym or watch television. If you feel like you should at least do some writing, make a few notes for article ideas or do some research online that you've been meaning to do. Both of those things will help you at another writing session without you turning out sub-standard writing when you're not at your best.
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