### I can’t sleep

It is three o’ clock in the morning. I had a bad headache this evening, so I had to rest, meaning another evening was wasted on me. I went a bit crazy at spin class you see and, knowing how my body works, I pushed myself above my limits – sprinting and screaming – until it felt like I was going to collapse.

I had originally planned to spend the evening writing, but these things happen. Unexpected events happen. I try to incorporate reviewing and blogging as much I can. Sadly because of situations like these, it is practically impossible.

**I can’t just do it.** I can’t just start writing whenever I feel like it. Much like talking in front of a group of people, going to a networking event to meet new people, or preparing for a job interview, there are so many things to consider and have in place.

**Where** shall I write?

Do I have the right **tools**?

What is my **wordcount**?

How much **time** do I have?

When is the **deadline**?

These are just a few things writers have to cover first before they write their first words. Once these things have been figured out, then they can begin.

Some writers may disagree with me and require some extra time getting their mindset in gear for a serious writing session. For me, I have learnt, over the course of four years, that the first hurdle is getting words down, immediately. It is one of the most rewarding stages of the writing process. **The sooner, the better.** Do not procrastinate.

With laptops and mobile devices, it is easier to amend, delete and subedit your content. I find that once you’ve started pouring your ideas onto the page, you’re over the hardest part of it all.

In this post, I want to talk about something that’s been on mind a lot lately, but has annoyed me for a long time. It’s a niggling thought which crops up now again, and has crossed the minds of many creative and talented writers. *How do you juggle a full-time job with writing?*

Readers outside of the writing world may seem perplexed by this and ask, why don’t you put the full-time job and writing together by being a full-time writer? Firstly, it is **bloody** competitive. The industry for writing about the things you love is rife. The ramifications of this is a larger debate (which is worth discussing in another post). Put simply, in order to become a journalist for a TV broadcaster, newspaper, magazine, or popular website, years of solid experience and passion in a specific field are required. And with millions of writers and not as many writing outlets, you can understand the dilemma we are faced with. It is a question of supply and demand.

Secondly, the money isn’t great. Within the last decade, many editors that were in a secure, permanent role, *living off luxurious wages for their lyrical might,* were made redundant or requested to work as a freelancer. This is largely down to the rise of web editors, bloggers (like myself) and online citizen writers who can produce some incredible content, to a similar, or often better, standard as their print **editorial** counterpart. Of course, this isn’t to belittle freelancers. They are brave and willing to take the risk. Prolific writers with a great following won’t have difficulty getting freelance gigs either, but not everyone is prepared to sacrifice the safety net of a permanent job.

Thirdly, even if it was possible to get a job as an editor writing about the things you want to write about, in my case opera and theatre, would you want to? Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘don’t make your hobby your day job?’ It may sound far fetched but I *personally* feel that if I had to write everyday for a living, I would eventually get bored. I know, a job is a job, people do it to pay the bills and only a handful truly enjoy their job… However, my writing is my joy. I do it for myself and share it with others to read. If I start writing about things I am paid to write about and in a way I do not feel comfortable with, then I may feel resentful. It may tarnish my interest completely. Yet, writing online where I can impart my thoughts freely without any limitations, as a blogger, is far more gratifying.

Back to the question, *How do you juggle a full-time job with writing?* I figured it out. I tried it for two days once and failed, but really it is simple, and completely down to the writer on how they do it. The answer is **Routine.** There are several books on this fabulous topic that open our eyes to humanity’s history of intelligent artists, musicians and authors who embraced routines which made them the grand successes they are known as today.

Ernest Hemingway made it his goal to write very early each morning. German composer Beethoven made it a habit to walk everyday in the afternoon. And there’s a long list of famous authors who held day jobs whilst keeping up with their love for writing, including Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafta and James Joyce.

So, here is my challenge for the next four weeks. My aim is to try and write at least 300 words a day. **At least!** That might mean waking up at 6am, but I know that I will feel happier knowing I have stuck to my goals and achieved more writing than I have done in a very long time. (When I was a student, I would write 1000 words a day.) But even if I don’t write in the morning, I can pen away at my lunch break, on my way to work or after.

If you are a writer and finding it a struggle to write with a full-time job, too, then try changing your **Routine** and adapt new **habits**. Be honest with yourself. Be realistic. If you want to write everyday then find the time and **pencil it in.** Use your lunch hour, use the time on your commute to work, wake up earlier, and go to bed earlier. Set yourself achievable goals. (I have just downloaded an app called WriterP and it is great for tapping away a post on the go, on your smartphone. The WordPress app is also handy for the essentials for posting a new article, too.)

Whether it is 300 words or 1000, thirty minutes or three hours, having a goal in mind can guide you. Even if it is small, at least it is a goal. Thirty minutes of writing is far more attainable than three hours, so don’t set yourself high expectations, that is unless you are sure you can achieve them.

The only person that can decide what you can do is you. You know what you are capable of doing so don’t push it, or you shall end up like me, at the brink of collapsing and getting a headache. And if you find yourself slipping, missing a day of writing, don’t beat yourself up about it. Your ideas won’t suddenly disintegrate. Just note down your idea or email yourself a reminder so you can catch up on your ideas later, when you’re next available. Simples.

Good luck! And happy writing.

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