Working 9-5 and 5-9 (Or, don’t quit your night job)

This is a compilation of the tweets I shared this afternoon as part of an online writing conference called #notRWA17. I’m collecting them here, but will include a link to the actual tweet thread at the end. 🙂

Welcome to Working 9 to 5 and 5 to 9. Or, Don’t Quit Your Night Job. #notRWA17 #notQuitting

I’m Maggie Wells, and I am THIS CLOSE to completing the 1st draft on my 38th contracted novel/novella. #notRWA17

I am published with Kensington/Lyrical Press, Harlequin-E, Carina Press, and in 2018, Sourcebooks. #notRWA17

I’m also indie publishing my reverted titles. Throughout this entire process, I have worked full-time as a mid-level manager. #notRWA17

This discussion it geared to those of us who are committed to spending 30+ hours per week doing something other than writing. #notRWA17

That includes those who take home a paycheck, as well as those who hold unpaid positions as primary caregivers. #notRWA17

I just want to spend my days writing. Who among us hasn’t said something along those lines? #notRWA17

But the dream may never be a reality. Not because we lack the drive or talent, but because life is messy and complicated. #notRWA17

My situation: My husband is self-employed. His income is fairly steady, but subject to the whims of the economy. #notRWA17

I’d need some SERIOUS BANK to be able to leave my job. I make good money, a steady paycheck & I carry our health insurance. #notRWA17

I’m not saying I don’t dream about it, but dreams are free, and groceries cost money. This is my reality. #notRWA17

The writers who cling to the dream and rail against reality are the ones who give up. But you don’t have to be a quitter. #notRWA17

Now, I’m not saying I don’t THINK about quitting the author gig. I do. A lot. But I won’t. 2 reasons: #notRWA17 A) I’m stubborn as a mule. B) It’s not like I can just shut it off, so why not try to make something of it? #notRWA17

And a 3rd: I know it’s possible to balance the day job with a thriving writing career. They are not mutually exclusive. #notRWA17

Goal setting is essential IMO. Time is a limited commodity, and you need to know exactly what you are after. #notRWA17

Remember, goals should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result-driven, and Time-based. #notRWA17

Experiment with various writing practices to know which work for you when you need to turn on the faucet. #notRWA17

Examples of practices: Journaling, sprints, group writing, morning pages, dictation, etc. #notRWA17

A writing practice is a tool that can help you get into the groove of your story. My current fave is dictation. #notRWA17

I dictate the next scene in my story on my 13min commute. It’s bare-bones, but I have something to work with when I get home. #notRWA17

Now, the big one: motivation. I spend all day at a computer. There are days when the last thing I want to do is write at night. #notRWA17

We all have days when the motivation isn’t there. The trick is to find a way to spark it. #notRWA17

This is where things like word counts or scene-by-scene book building (I’m using this in combination with dictation) come in. #notRWA17

I swiped one of my new faves from @KarenBBooth . A kinder, gentler approach to word counts. Read it here:

Learn to love leftovers. Never stop when you finish a scene or chapter. Try to start the next so you can hit the ground running. #notRWA17

But the biggest challenge is always time management. If work and writing were the only things in our lives, it might be easier. #notRWA17

We have laundry piles, oil changes, t-ball, and flu. There are babies to squeeze and dogs to walk. And naps. We need naps. #notRWA17

Life is for living, and you cannot let your work/life balance tip into work/work mania. It’s not healthy for you or your stories. #notRWA17

There will be times when work wins, others when life takes the wheel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage them. #notRWA17

Real life example: This is my summer of revisions. I have 3 finished manuscripts in editorial with 2 pubs, and a WIP. #notRWA17

I’ve already gone through developmental and line edits on 2 of the 3. In the last 2 weeks, all 3 were returned for the next step #notRWA17

After curling into a tiny ball and moaning, I reviewed the work requested on each ms and agreed that the deadline was feasible. #notRWA17

I tackled & returned 2 copyedited mss first, leaving me free to focus on the more in-depth revisions on the last. #notRWA17

And, using the dictation and transcription method I mentioned earlier, I was able to add (a very rough) 15k to the WIP. #notRWA17

This works for me. Your mileage may vary. The important thing to remember is that it is do-able. #notRWA17

Keep your goals in front of you. Set your expectation dial to ‘realistic’, and be kind to yourself. #notRWA17

We may never get to quit the day job. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t achieved something tremendous. #notRWA17

If you have started a book, you are ahead of most people. If you have completed even one ms, you’ve done something magical. #notRWA17

I wrote more about accomplishment vs ambition on my blog. Here’s the link if you are interested: #notRWA17

Thanks to @OliviaWrites for organizing this wonderful event and to you for watching me babble here. #notRWA17

I’m happy to answer questions or just commiserate. #notRWA17

If you’d like to enter to win some of my books, enter here; I’ll pick the winners Sunday evening.  #notRWA17

One Reply to “Working 9-5 and 5-9 (Or, don’t quit your night job)”

  1. “dreams are free, and groceries cost money” I may cross-stitch that and hang it on my wall. Good stuff!

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