My Writing Routine (Complete with a Full-Time Job)

This one is for the fellow writers out there. How often do we hear it? “If you want to be a professional writer, you need to write everyday.” And to do that, you need a routine. Which makes sense! Any productive life is built on having a schedule — especially since life is so much more then just one thing.

My life, for instance, includes sleep, working a full-time job, writing, Television, video games, reading, family, boyfriend, friends, trying to break into my career, and other events or things going on that I can’t fully avoid.

That’s a lot for just 24 hours in the day. Believe me, not all of that gets done everyday. That’s why my routine is so important to me.

The thing is, when you look up other writer routines online… they somehow find time to fit most of what I listed around their writing, which is their central focus. There is one, major, important thing that most of those routines seem to lack, but I can’t avoid (no matter how much I want to).

Working a full-time job.

I am a writer. However, that doesn’t mean I make money from my craft (yet). Bills don’t wait for the words to sell, though, so I am forced to lower myself off of my scholarly pedestal and down to the standards of the rest of the world; working a glorious, fullfilling, well paying job that excites me every morning when I wake up! (That’s sarcasm, for those that missed it)

Walmart!

Done laughing yet? Right. Okay. Yes, I stock shelves at Walmart. I work the wonderful hours of 4am-1pm, which means bedtime for me is 7pm. Done cringing yet? Good. Now, I can already hear the questions you’re asking.

1. How does she find time to write with a schedule like that?

2. How does she find time for ANYTHING with a schedule like that!?

Well, I budget my time! Below is a break down of my usual daily routine.

-3:15am: Drag myself out of bed, get to work, chug caffine, and eat a small breakfast

4am: Clock in and work while brain is spiraling out of control with ideas

-7am: First 15 minute break, jot down ideas I got during first 3 hours of work

-9am: Lunch (What you normal people call breakfast, I’m already eating my second meal) Flesh out an idea in notebook.

-11:30am: Last 15 break, chug more caffine

1pm: Clock out, rush home, and start my writing ritual of straightening off my desk and/or computer chair, booting up computer, and making my tea. If it’s nice out, I’ll sit in the patio and take in fresh air as I write.

-3pm: (Or two hours after I started writing), stop, put it away, and message boyfriend/friends.

At this point of the day, I just relax, talking to friends and boyfriend, playing video games, reading, watching T.V. and having an internal debate on if I should go ahead and heat up those hot pockets in the freezer, or order out (my family tends to have dinner late, after I go to bed. I eat entirely too much Chinese food, by the way).

-6:30pm: Get ready for bed and set 5 alarms to make sure I wake up.

-7pm: Nighty night time.

Of course, if I have the day off, I tend to wake up a little later, write earlier in the day (when it’s a bit quieter in the house), and go to bed later the night before. I also use these days off to browse around, hunting for writing jobs and opputunities. The only two days I don’t write are Thursday (these blogs are usually done by Tuesday), and Fridays.

Thursday is my “mental health day”, in which I focus on fun after work, allowing myself to recharge. And Friday is the “drag the introvert from her cave of solitude (bedroom) and make her spend time with her friends and/or boyfriend.”

I’ve read so many times to make your schedule rigid. Don’t let it change. Write at the same time, everyday, and protect those hours with your life.

I don’t believe that, honestly. I believe in being flexible. Especially since, in the writing world, you have to adapt to what’s going on, and what’s happening around you, to make deadlines and appease the right people.

This weekend, for instance. I have a wedding to go to on Saturday. This means I have to shift my writing time around. I have off Sunday, so I might write for two hours early on Sunday, then two more hours later in the day.

Or I might write today. I would say tomorrow (Friday), but Ready Player One comes out today, sooo… that’s not happening, haha.

For you writers out there, struggling to find your routine, my advice is simple. Make a list of what you have to do, and two or three things you really want to do. Pick the most important, time consuming thing out of your list of “Have to…”, and schedule around that. Have a full time job? School? Some other responsibility? Use that as an anchor point, and schedule around it.

Also, make sure to give yourself some breathing room, and some time to go out with your friends/loved ones. Those are the ones who support you: who makes sure you stay on task, while also making sure you stay healthy. Don’t neglect them! (More on this in a later post)

Do you have a writing routine on top of a full-time responsibility? Share in the comments!

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