Random Inspirations

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How to Write Your Novel–While Working Full-Time

on April 25, 2013

One recurrent complaint I’ve heard from fellow writers (or aspiring writers) over the years is, “I have this great idea for a novel, but I just don’t have time to write it.” And sometimes, it seems that way. Work, social / family engagements, and basic stuff like running errands can consume your day, leaving you next to no time for sleep, let alone writing. The bad news: I haven’t figured out how to add an extra hour (or three or four or five) to the day. But I do have a tried-and-true strategy for how to write a book while going to school or working full-time, so let me share it with you!

A little background: I wrote four short stories and two novels exclusively during school breaks throughout my six years of pre-pharmacy and pharmacy school, and I’ve written two novels and countless short stories since I’ve been working full-time as a pharmacist. Were they all publishable? No. But did I find time in my fully-packed schedule to write them? Yes.

Try these tips for writing a novel while working full-time, and this could be you:)

Try these tips for writing a novel while working full-time, and this could be you:)

Here’s how you can Write Your Novel While Working Full-Time.

  1. Make a Plan – You have a groundbreaking idea. Kudos to you! Guess what? Many people never get that far. The next step is creating a game plan to tease that story out of your imagination and onto the page. Outline the chapters and scenes of your novel if you’re into that sort of thing; if you’re not, make some notes on the basic storyline. Then, ask yourself the important questions, i.e. What is my self-imposed deadline for writing the novel? What is my goal for this novel? Do I want to publish it, or am I just writing to have fun and express myself? Of course, you will deviate from your plan along the way, but just making one will amp up your enthusiasm to start your project.
  2. Pencil Writing into Your Schedule – I still remember a poster that hung in one of my high school classrooms. It said, ” We always make time for what’s truly important.” I don’t know who originally said it, but I do know that I’ve lived by it. If writing is truly important to you, you just have to make time for it! Ask yourself where you have little gaps in your schedule. That hour at night when you watch TV? Turn it into writing time. That half hour train ride to work when you usually doze or check Facebook? Ditto. Transform random idle pieces of time here and there into writing time, and you’ll have a novel before you know it. For more time-management ideas, check out this post on my blog archives: Five fabulous time management tips.
  3. Get Inspired at Work – You’re there anyway,  so why not look at your workplace through new eyes?  Think of the fictitious workplaces you’ve read about in books or seen on TV. Whether it’s a hospital in a Robin Cook novel, a fashion magazine in The Devil Wears Prada, or even Dunder Mifflin in “The Office,” the workplaces come alive because of the inspiration and knowledge of the writers who created them. So make your workday work for you!
  4. Monitor Your Progress – Just as making that initial plan motivates you, taking stock of your victories as you progress in your novel spurs you on to write more. Keep a journal or a notebook to monitor your progress, or just go back sometimes and read what you’ve written. One of the greatest rewards of writing is knowing that no one can do it quite like you. Your novel, in all its stages, is an achievement like no other. So bask in it:)

4 responses to “How to Write Your Novel–While Working Full-Time

  1. johncoyote says:

    Very hard to do. I have been trying to finish one book for many years. Thank you for the advice.

  2. Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you:) I’ve enjoyed reading your poems–maybe one of the characters in your book should be a poet!

  3. Great post Kristina … It reminds us that everything in life that is worthy, needs planning, hard work and persistence!

    ps: I’m excited to read your short stories when they come out 😉

  4. Thanks Antonio, can’t wait to share the short stories with everyone soon!

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