Writing and Working Full Time – Really?

etching of medieval writer
flickr credit: AJC1

Is it rude to say you’re unavailable so you can stay home and write?

You’ve wanted to do it. The weekend comes along, you’re finally going to get some writing time in. Then, BAM! A third cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s birthday party is Saturday. And you have to bring a gift.

Hey, family’s important. I try to take time for family whenever possible. But free time has been even harder to come by lately.

I started working full-time hours at the start of the year and gradually saw my writing productivity shrink. At this point, I’m happy if I get in any writing at all during the week. The weekend doesn’t automatically mean writing time, of course. It means laundry, shopping, and yes, maybe a family event.

So I eagerly read an article at Writer Unboxed on writing while working a full-time job. A paying full-time job, that is. Writers know writing is itself a full-time job. We’re just hoping to get paid …someday.

The article had a couple of tips — basically, write first thing in the morning, schedule religiously, or get so excitedly about your story you don’t want to do much else. Read it if you’re struggling with the same issue.

There were a couple of links to articles, both of which said, again, to schedule maniacally; one of them also suggested to keep a notebook handy for those moments of inspiration.

I was left a bit underwhelmed, frankly. All of this was nothing I hadn’t heard before, not only in the context of working full-time while writing. Nothing about how to actually make time, find time, or make best use of your limited time. I can schedule down to the minute. But I’m still going to be getting home at six in the evening (if I’m lucky).

I need a bit more. And I’m asking for suggestions. Anyone who works full-time, or even full-time mommies who have their hands full 24/7, I ask, beg, plead, for ways I can try to fit writing into my day, if not daily, then most days of the week.

A couple of limitations

I already get up a couple of hours before work each morning to exercise. To also fit in writing time in the morning would mean getting up at hours I would term “ungodly.” Not quite an option (yet).

I get home about 6 pm. Finish with dinner about 7 or 7:30. I do not watch TV most evenings (unless I really need some brain-dead time). But I actually don’t have the ability to write when I’m tired. I know, it’s a real handicap for a writer. But something in my brain shuts off, and it won’t give me any more words. So I generally have till 10 pm, latest. That’s, what, 2 hours a night, max.

Give me your best shot.


  1. Monica, your days sound exactly like mine. And I don’t know that there is any magical solution to finding “quality” writing time when one works at another job or two as well as manages a family and social life, as most of us must do.

    As a practical solution (after all, SOME writing is better than no writing at all, right?) I try to get 500 words done EVERY day (weekends included). Sometimes this means writing a snippet of conversation between two of my characters down on a piece of paper and later transferring it onto my MS on my computer, or writing through lunch as I chomp down a quick sandwich, etc. Try giving yourself an hour after supper with a cup of tea at hand, to get those 500 words captured. I often find that before I know it, I have surpassed the 500 word count. These little pieces add up over a week or a month and are really easy to do (this reply alone is around 150 words or so and took me only a couple of minutes to produce, for instance.) So, not a magic solution, just practical! Best wishes and good luck with your continued writing. 😀
    Dianne Greenlay recently posted…What I Live ForMy Profile

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