A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Are day jobs and writing mutually exclusive?

I know a lot of writers through Twitter, Facebook, and other aspects of social media.  Heck, most of you reading this are writers.  How many of us struggle to find time to write between our obligations of family, friends, and that ever present monkey on our backs - the DAY JOB.

I work in a call center, taking inbound phone calls from people with a certain store card who are generally in an okay mood.  Some of them are bitchy because of things happening on their accounts (which generally they did to themselves but we won't get into that).  Some are downright hostile because they feel they were wronged and want us to fix it.  Thankfully, most of the time if I can't fix it the next level up from me can so it's not too bad.

But moving from my old position in collections to this customer service and sales position has robbed me of the time I used to use to write.  In collections we could be 10+ minutes between calls and I'd get a lot of writing done.  I'd get some writing done on my breaks and lunch too.

Now, by the time my breaks and lunch roll around I'm headed for the break room to de-stress and don't get much time to write.  I need the brain break because of how much I have to think on the fly doing my job.  I try to snatch a chapter or two of whatever book I'm reading at the time while on my breaks.

When I get home I'm usually too tired to write.  I work the evening shift so I'm not getting home until 10:30 or 11:00 at night, depending on how bad traffic is on my way home.  By the time I get home I just want to chill and go to bed so I have the energy to do it all over again.

My days off are spent trying to catch up on everything that I've neglected during the week that Himself hasn't gotten to.  Things like cleaning the room up to my standards, the litter box, other household chores no one's done that need to get done.  Then I try to work on the critiques for my critique group and only then do I have time to get some writing done.  But by that time I'm usually worn out and just want to go to bed.

So are day jobs and writing mutually exclusive?  No, I don't think they are.  For one thing, if I got up earlier on the days I have to work I could get my walk in.  My walk is a good time for me to mull ideas over in my head and plot things out for my characters.  I could then come home, take my shower, and get some writing done before I go to work.  This does require me to get up earlier (and believe me, I LIKE my sleep) but it's all about the discipline of the craft.

On my days off, I could actively plan time to write instead of trying to cram it in at the end of the day.  I could do the same thing I do on the days I go to work: take my walk, bathe, write.  If I could re-establish a schedule like this I'd be getting a lot more work done on the revisions and the writing projects that are all lurking on my hard drive.

What about you?  How do you fit writing in around your every day obligations?


  1. It's part planning, part luck that I work at a school, so I get a lot of days off. Also because I work at a school, even if I'm tempted to go do stuff in summer, there's no money for that, so I just stay home and write.

    If I tried to write only three months out of the year, though, I'd never survive. During the school year I pretty much never watch TV or go do anything, so that's my writing time. :D

  2. Sounds like my busy life (minus the call center headaches). I feel for you. I try to squeeze in some writing any chance I get. I carry some paper in my bag as well as some notebook paper on my desk in case I'm unable to write on the computer. I try writing during my lunch breaks at work. The weekends and any work holidays are usually the best time for me to get caught up on the workweek's stress. I can pace myself and let the words flow naturally rather than rush to try to write as much as I can during my hour-long lunch break.

    It's hard doing this with a day job. I think it's every writer's dream to do what they love for a living :)