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  1. Fizzedine
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    Fizzedine Member

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    Writing with a full time job

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fizzedine, Sep 27, 2014.

    Hey guys

    I absolutely love writing and literature and like many I work full time as well as spending time learning French. Unfortunately, I never seem to have time to write.
    So what I want to ask is how much time do people spend writing in this scenario?
    I know Hemmingway only wrote 500 words day and James Joyce called writing 3 sentences a "good day".
    So what do people aim for here?

    many thanks guys :)
     
  2. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Whenever I sit down and write (which, sadly, happens way too infrequently) my goal is usually 300 words, but that is just a goal and not a must. It might seem like a very low amount (there are people here on the forum who does 1000-2000 words daily, if not more) but I'm a pretty slow writer (as in choosing the words and sentences to write, that is, not the actual typing).

    I personally think that it doesn't really matter if you write 100 words a day or 5000 words. Try to find an amount you are comfortable with and work your way from there. My personal goal right now is to be able to do 1000 words in a single sitting, but I'm not going to force myself to get there. I'll put my trust in experience and time, for as long as I have fun writing I'm satisfied with whatever progress I make.

    Start out by seeing what time you actually have available for you and use that time. Follow the natural flow as you work, don't push the limit and force yourself, and simply enjoy the freedom of creation.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do 520 000 words a year, (10K words a week) with a full-time job. But I don't have kids and don't watch TV. (I write about 1K an hour, so that's just 1hr in the evenings of work days and then 2.5hrs per day on the weekend. Sometimes I get off schedule if I go on vacation, get really busy at work, or have a lot of edits or something to do, but I can usually catch up with a few full-day weekend blitzes).

    But I wouldn't sweat the word count too much. There ARE genres where authors seem to be expected to be really productive, but in general it doesn't really matter how long it takes to write a book, especially a first book. I'd say you should focus on enjoying yourself, refining your craft, figuring out your voice, etc. Let the word count take care of itself.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just about every writing working on getting their first novel published, and the vast majority of published authors have a full-time job, or a spouse that supports them. Some have part-time work that is combined with writing income.

    You have to make writing a priority, however you want to count it. Words per day, hours per week, etc. I don't go by word count, because after that first draft, it's mostly editing and revision where there isn't a 'word count'. Plus, I have a blog and marketing efforts, and reading/research that are part of the writing process.

    You have to make writing a priority. Maybe not a top priority, but to get things done, something has to be sacrificed, whether it's time out with friends, and/or favorite TV shows, limiting social media, and/or a bit of luxurious sleep--sacrificed on a regular basis.

    I have a full-time job (teaching English) and then I also instruct/grade e-course work, and serve as a member of the village council. And then I write. So I have 4 jobs, one full-time and three part-time. Then I have a family--a wife and two daughters. There's church and hopefully a modicum of a social life.

    Some weeks I get to spend 10 or more hours on writing. Some weeks far less. But I strive to make progress. Any author, as I see it has to invest time at the cost of doing something else instead.
     
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  5. S S
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    S S Active Member

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    I think Joyce may have called 3 sentences a day a 'good day' because he was able to produce a lot in a little or because the 3 sentences were so powerful that no more need be written.

    I personally write around 1,500 words a day, but I spend a day every now and then re-reading and editing. By the time I finish a work, I hope to have the original entirely re-written. It's like climbing Everest, climb a bit, go back to where you were, climb some more, go back, go forward, etc.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sums it up perfectly, IMO. One can't "find" time for writing - one has to make time. (And I don't go by word count either - I try for X amount of time; sometimes I get three sentences, sometimes a full chapter.)
     
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  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I'm really busy with work, I aim at 300 good words per writing session (like, the best I can do, not something that'll need a complete re-write later) and that's still the bare minimum I still strive for. But my usual daily goal is about 500 words, which I often exceed, depending on the day. There are also days when I don't get to write, usually weekends unless I'm home alone which happens occasionally.

    Right now, I'm writing a really emotionally challenging chapter, and I'm going at a snail's pace because it takes a lot out of me. Over half way through, I'm looking forward to finishing it soon, fingers crossed.
     
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  8. Fizzedine
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    Fizzedine Member

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    Guys thank you so much for the advice!
    I'm a computer engineer so I have exams on a regular basis so time as it stands is limited. seems like I will have to sacrifice as mentioned. Thanks guys :)
     
  9. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i dont have a full time job but i do work 20 hours a week and attend college. at the moment i will be lucky if i write 1000 words once a week, im hoping to up that once i have my initial assignments out the way.

    i write roughly 1k in about 45 mins if i put my mind to it (which i really should today, because i need to step away from my college work.) (thats from time and again of doing sprints with people.)

    at the moment im not concerning myself with editing and the such, as i want to get this series done first and all the main plot points mapped out on Aeon Timeline before i edit (i know my main concern should be tweaking out the inconsistencies) then i will edit.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    What @TWErvin2 said.

    I've had a full career, mostly in the corporate world and for the past five years in government. My wife and I have raised two children with developmental disabilities, so that means that in addition to working, I've done extensive advocacy, served on five boards of agencies/organizations/associations, coached my son's soccer team, served as his youth club's "soccer commissioner", helped organize a soccer league for kids too old for intramural but not skilled enough to play travel, worked with my local civic association on key issues and fought battles to get or retain services for my children (including a placement in a private school for my son). Then my in-laws became dysfunctional and I had to manage their affairs while managing a major crisis in my career and then a job change (my mother-in-law has since passed on, but my father-in-law is still alive and will turn 97 next January). If that sounds like a lot, it is. Lots of emotional energy spent. But also during that time I made four attempts at writing novels, all of which resulted in a complete first draft, and now a novel that is almost ready for querying.

    Hard work? Hell yeah. No, I mean the writing. But it kept me sane. And some of those experiences of mine served to inform my writing in one way or another.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  11. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    I attended a seminar this past spring that dealt with time management, and it really did wonders for how I schedule my time. It is amazing how we waste so much time during a day on things that is useless and does nothing for us.

    I work full time; however, I am now finding that setting two hours per day to write is an easy task. I must say that I do not have children nor a husband; however, even if I did have them, I now know how to make time to do what I want to do most. Writing towards publication is a tremendously competitive field, so it takes “time” to hone our writing skills.

    I see many posts on this board that are from those who want to write for publication; however, their grammatical skills are horrible. When confronted with this, they usually respond with the excuse “I don’t have the time to upgrade my grammar.”

    Our time is under our control and we must be the master of that time control. If the “I want to be” writers put other things above writing (grammar) skills, then whose fault is it? If you want it bad enough, you’ll make create time in your daily schedule to allow yourself to do what you want to do most.
     
  12. Michaelson345
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    Michaelson345 Member

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    I don't write full time it is not my occupation, I don't even write for publication. it is my passion, i write everyday.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There are times when digging in and writing reams of stuff as intensely as you can is the best use of your time. However, taking 'down time' from the actual writing can be beneficial as well. If you find yourself constantly ditching what you wrote the day before and starting over each time, then I'd say that's a good strategy. Let yourself off the hook for a while.

    I know when I was busy writing my first draft of my long novel, I not only wrote every day, I wrote as much as other obligations would allow me to. I always wrote for several hours a day. I once wrote for 16 hours at a stretch, taking time out only to make coffee, go to the toilet and grab a sandwich or two. I had a full time job, a husband, a social life, daily chores ...and I resented all of them when they took me away from my writing. It was an intense need of mine to get that story DOWN. I would happily have locked myself in my office and had meals shunted in to me beneath the door for the duration. But of course this is real life.

    Once my first draft was finished, the intensity died. I am much more relaxed now, in the edit phase. This is just as enjoyable a phase, by the way, but getting distance from the project is actually very helpful. I'm now looking at my completed draft (well drafts, as I've done several complete edits) and figuring out how to polish it to its final form. I'm looking at it now from the viewpoint of a critic, and seeing much that can be improved, truncated, eliminated, re-written, connected, etc. It's an entirely different kind of exercise, but can be done more slowly and with less continual intensity. Some days go by and I don't write at all, although I do always think about the project. Gradually, it's taking its final shape.

    Some writers benefit from an unalterable routine, whether it's particular hours of the day to write, or word count, or finishing a scene or chapter ....whatever. Find what works for you and don't compare your writing method to everybody else's. But don't procrastinate either. There will never be an 'ideal' time to write. If you wait around for that to happen, your life will be over before you start.
     
  14. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    It's not easy, but then if it was we would all be writing a novel a year or every six months. I would say that when I compare when I had all the time in the world to write and writing now with a full-time job and childcare issues, I have to say I write more now. I've learned that it's not necessarily the time to write which is the issue, more what you do with that time.

    I work 4 days a week (as a career adviser to people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities), I am responsibile for childcare for 1 day (for our two young children) and I've 1 day set aside for purely family things. That leaves the 1 day for writing. And that's all I do on that day - I write. I don't get distracted by chores, by invitations for lunch, by TV, by video-games, by the news etc etc. I've learned to discipline myself to be at the computer by 8:30am and then it's straight on til 5. I break for a cuppa and lunch, but that's it.

    I measure productivity not just by how much I write but the business of writing too, which means research, social media, marketing, honing cover design skills, all that stuff that contributes to the finish product and the selling of it. I average between 6k-7k words a day, and on good days around 8k. Once I managed 10k and then had to lie down in a dark room.

    I don't write in the evenings, and I don't write before I go to work. I've learned to be assertive with myself (crushing all resistance before me - with reference to Steven Pressfield's War of Art) and with others. I learned to do that while at university: having to say 'no' to friends when they go out, opting instead to stay in to finish the current story, hones that skill.
    Now I can say 'no' with confidence so people tend not to ask me to do non-writing stuff on that one day I have.

    That's being obstinate, yes, but it gets the writing done.
     
  15. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    I currently work part time as a tutor and am working on a maser's degree in counseling. When I was writing the first draft of my novel, I set a goal of 1,000 words per day and met that goal every day until the first draft was complete. It was not always easy fining the time and some of what I produced was total crap, but at least I had something down on paper, something that I could work with. More than a year later, I'm still working on revisions with no set goals for word count in mind--some days, I lose words. Getting it right just takes time...and quality always trumps quantity.
     
  16. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I get up at 4:30AM to write. I figured parents have to lose sleep to raise a family. If they can do that, I can do it to make my dreams come true.

    I need to leave for work at 7:30AM.
     
  17. Fizzedine
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    Fizzedine Member

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    Guys theres some fantastic advice here. Thanks so much for the time in replying. Good luck one and all :)
     
  18. Fizzedine
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    Fizzedine Member

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    Guys theres some fantastic advice here. Thanks so much for the time in replying. Good luck one and all :)
     

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