Best tip for writers with a day job

In addition to my full-time job as an editor/owner of Club Ed Freelancers, I also write novels. Since I do not make fistfuls of money from the novels, writing them can take a backseat to other work.

Sound familiar? If you’re a writer with a day job, I bet you can relate. 

For a long time, I struggled with this, and then ten or fifteen years ago, a colleague of mine suggested a simple solution: “Take the first two hours of every day for the writing that’s most important to you, and make the rest of your work fit into the remainder of the day.” 

At the time I didn’t see how this could possibly work. But I tried it and . . . it did work. I had to get up at 5 a.m. sometimes to make it work, but work it did. The beauty of this solution is that it helps establish a daily habit of writing. It also makes a daily priority of creative work, which we almost never privilege over the work that pays the bills.

It took several months for me to routinely give myself permission to use my best work time this way. But after a while, I learned not to schedule anything else during those precious morning hours. Not coaching sessions, not dental appointments, not conference calls to discuss projects in the works. Only the writing that is most important to me. 

Years later, I can say that reserving those morning hours for my most important work has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself. 

If you can’t devote two full hours each day to your most important work, try an hour, or your commute time, or your lunch break. Even half an hour, at the same time and place, will make a difference. Whatever it is, make it a daily ritual, and don’t let other obligations crowd into it. 

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