Dreams are funny things. As a writer, you have to dream. You have to let your imagination out. It’s perfectly acceptable to lose yourself in a world of make believe and listen to voices in your head. You’re not crazy, you’re a writer. What’s tough for us writers is when you have to leave that dream world. Because, unfortunately, we also have to live in the real world.
I’ve had a few comments and emails from readers recently asking for my advice about pursuing writing whilst having to work and earn money. Although no expert, I want to help because I want you to write and be able to make your dreams come true. However, reality does bite and you need to balance pursuing your passions with being sensible. Yes, I know. Sensible is boring. It’s much more fun to daydream but life is tough and you’ve got to learn how to survive it.
I’ve worked for 7 years full time with a three hour commute. And I’ve saved. I have no debts. This means I can only now take some time out to focus on writing. And I’ll still have to get some part time work. So don’t make any rash decisions and regret them later. Until you actually make money from writing, you’ve got to keep your dreams in check and do something else on the side.
So here are my tips to consider when balancing writing and work. I really hope they help!
1. Set yourself goals – what do you want to achieve from writing and when do you want to achieve it by? What time do you need to set aside to make this happen?
2. Look at our outgoings and any debt you have. What do you realistically need to earn each month?
3. Other than writing, what else do you like? Try to use this to help you on the job front. However, I must be honest – you may have to just suck it up and do something you don’t enjoy because it gives you the freedom to write. Again, set yourself a deadline so you don’t get stuck forever. For example, if you like people and reading, why not work in a book shop?
4. Save as much money as you can. This will help you take the full time writing leap as soon as possible.
5. Keep track of your goals and dreams. Keep a journal or a blog! Tell people what you’re doing so you don’t lose track. How about setting a weekly word amount you want to write? Ask for support, you’ll be amazed by the response.
6. Above all else, don’t stop writing or dreaming!
Writing is hard work especially when you balance it with work. You need to be determined and disciplined. You need to set goals and deadlines. But you can do it! Just block in time write. I had to do it on the weekends. But I love to write so it wasn’t really a sacrifice. Just make sure you give yourself a break to relax and have fun.
There’s no short cut. You may have to do something you don’t enjoy for a while but if you keep on track with your waiting, it will all be worth it the end.