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6 November 2023


How to Fit Writing Around a Full-Time Job

Fit writing around a full-time job - Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, but those 24 hours look different for each person. It can be difficult to find time for your writing, especially if you’re trying to fit writing around a full-time job.

“You should be writing every day. You should always prioritize writing over everything else. If you don’t write this exact amount of words in a day, you’re never going to get anywhere.”

These are some of the “harsh writing truths” we’ve all found in search of a sustainable writing routine

You might be working a full-time job (or several!), studying a course at university, or taking care of family members. Your day is bound to look different than someone who focuses solely on writing as their career, so take all these “truths” with a grain of salt.

Still, you want to write. You want to finish that book and explore that idea that’s been sitting on a shelf in your mind for as long as you can remember.

You get inspired every morning, but by the time you’ve finished everything you need to and finally sit down to write, the motivation to get your fingers clicking over the keyboard is nowhere to be seen.

I can promise you that it is possible to fit your writing around a full-time job. You can pursue a writing career, even if you only get 1 hour out of 24 to work with.

How can I be so sure?

Because I work full-time myself, and on top of running my own coaching business and maintaining an active Instagram account, I still find time to sit down and work on my book!

Let me show you how.

Decide which hour is going to be yours

The first step to getting started on your writing routine is to find that one hour of your day where you can turn off all your distractions and sit down in front of your computer.

No – this does not have to be the same hour every day. And no – if you can’t manage every single day, don’t push yourself to.

I suggest having a look at your daily schedule every morning and blocking in an hour that day when you can. It’s like a date between you and your keyboard.

my time has come from kung fu panda

Plan, plan, and plan some more

Unfortunately, deciding on that one specific hour of the day when you will sit down and write is not going to cut it.

The reason for this? You don’t actually have a clue what it is you’re sitting down to write. If you don’t plan ahead, you’re going to end up wasting about 30 minutes of your precious hour simply deciding what to work on or where to start.

How can you avoid this?

Having a proper outline and preparing your chapters in advance is going to be a game-changer. 

I suggest laying out a quick bullet-point outline of each chapter before you begin working on it. The outline can contain any events or plot points you need to cover in that chapter. This is going to make it that much easier to get straight into writing.

Prepare your writing space

I mean this in both your physical and digital writing spaces.

In terms of physical space – make sure that you get yourself into a quiet room, away from all distractions (including your kids, partners, and your fluffy soulmates). Lock yourself in if that’s what it takes.

Tidy up your desk, light a candle, and put on some acoustic music.

In terms of digital space, always keep your project organized and tidy. You want to avoid having several files of different chapters in different folders on your computer. You might also have some chapters on your USB tucked away in a dark drawer and a few in your Google Drive that you long forgot the password to.

Clean up!

It’s so important to have a clear overview of all your chapters and plans in one place. Novlr makes this super easy – have one single project file for your novel, and organize all your chapters and notes inside it.

battle plan from home alone

Get into writing sprints

Writing sprints have completely changed my approach to writing. I can’t imagine not doing them anymore!

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a writing sprint is a method in which you set a timer (I recommend 20 minutes per sprint), and challenge yourself to write as many words in that time as you can. The point is to let your mind do the work and keep going onwards with the plot, instead of pausing every few seconds to fix a typo.

Do three of these in your hour and you could churn out over 1,000 words!

Novlr runs regular writing sprints in their Discord server and has a channel dedicated to sprints where you can run your own whenever you need the extra boost!

kermit the frog typing fast

Write with friends

Have friends who write or enjoy other creative hobbies? Why not join forces and get together for a creative date?

Take your laptop and write while your artist friend works on their latest drawing. Have coffee, listen to music, and create together. This type of work can be so much more inspiring and relaxing because you’ll know you’re both in it together.

You can also do this online, in creative group chats, or in Discord communities!

moira from schitt's creek talking about teamwork

Take control of the hours in your day, and you’ll find yourself finally getting a headstart on your book!