Tag Archives: writer’s life

Don’t Quit Your Day Job: How to Balance Work and Writing

Man Walking a Tightrope in Front of the Sun

If you have a full-time job, chances are that you’re so worn out at the end of the day that you don’t feel much like working on your novel. You don’t have enough time or energy. You’ll never do it. You know what? That’s crazy. You can do it. Here’s how.

Try the Nifty 350

I just read an amazing post by author Chuck Wendig that recommends writing at least 350 words every day. That’s it. 350. How easy it that? No matter how busy or tired you are, I’m sure you can manage to write 350 words. Keep that momentum and you’ll have drafted a novel within a year. The best part? That’s with weekends off!

Utilize Pauses

Men Taking a Break from Work to Sit Outside and Smoke

If you feel pressed for time, look for pockets of rest scattered throughout the day. Waiting rooms, lines, bathrooms, and children’s dance recitals (joking) are excellent places to work on your story. Make sure you have a notebook or smartphone with you to capture thoughts on the go.

Stop Making Excuses

When it comes down to it, if you really want to write a novel, you’ll make it a priority. You’ll move heaven and earth to get those ideas down on paper. Trust me on this one.

Alter Your Routine

Sunrise Over the Ocean Waves and Beach

Can you wake up earlier or stay up later? You might have to change your schedule if you’re serious about writing. Figure out what time works best for you and set and alarm or have a cup of coffee. You can do it.

Stay Motivated

Whether it’s by tracking your progress or rewarding your work, find a way to keep your spirits up so you’ll keep writing. You’re less likely to lose interest if you’re properly motivated.

Writing a novel while holding down a job isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you have drive, passion, and flexibility, you can make it happen. Got more tips for balancing work and writing? Have an idea for a post? Leave a comment below.

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Discussion: Do You Keep a Writer’s Notebook?

One of the first essays about creative writing I ever read was “On Keeping a Notebook” by Joan Didion. It’s one of the most influential pieces I’ve read. In the essay, Didion discusses how keeping a little notebook with her at all times has affected her writing life and overall creativity.

Discussion: Do You Keep a Writer's Notebook? Maybe you should think about it.

Your notebook, as a writer, is a private place where you can record novel ideas, snippets of conversation to recreate in dialogue, and wayward thoughts with no discernible shape that could come in handy some day. In Didion’s words: “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its maker” (3-4). The notebook is for your own personal benefit. You don’t have to show it to anyone else.

What do you think of keeping a writer’s notebook? Do you have one? What do you put in it? How do you think it has helped you as a writer?

Coffee Shop Etiquette for Writers

Cup of Coffee

Photo credit: Zach Inglis on Flickr

I love writing in Barnes & Noble.

There’s a big one in my hometown with a little Starbucks in it and I love to sit down there and get some work done. There’s nothing like being surrounded by books and inhaling the scent of fresh roasted coffee while pounding away on my laptop.

I spend so much time in coffee shops that I’ve noticed an unspoken code of behavior for working from a coffice (coffee shop office).  If you like working in coffee shops, there are a few rules you should follow.

Share Your Space

Stick to the one chair per customer rule. Your butt gets a chair. Put your stuff on the floor. Don’t hog the seats. Also, if you’re sitting at a table and the coffee shop is busy, don’t spread your stuff out all over the place. Share the table. Basic stuff.

Buy Something!

If you’re sitting in a coffee shop, you’re a customer. It’s your duty to purchase something. You should be buying a drink or snack every ninety minutes to two hours. If you don’t want to buy anything, try to keep your visit to an hour or less – just know that you’re disrespectful for using the space without giving back,

Be Kind to Other Customers and Workers

Most coffee shops have tip jars. I encourage you to use them, especially if you spend a lot of time in that particular location. If someone asks you to watch their stuff, watch their stuff. If you need to listen to something, bring headphones. Take calls outside. Don’t hog power outlets. Here’s a bright idea – bring your own power strip and make some new friends.

When it comes to writing in coffee shops, these are some simple rules for human behavior to follow. It all boils down to this: don’t be a jerk.

Do you like writing in coffee shops? What are some other unspoken rules for working there that you can think of?

Tweet tweet:

The key to coffee shop etiquette for writers? Writer @thecollegenov says, “Don’t be a jerk.” (Click to tweet)