Yes, it is possible to have a profitable writing business even if you work full time. It’s not easy and most find they either want to switch to freelance writing as their main source of income, or decide to let most of the writing go until a different time in their life.
The trick, of course, is to figure out how to write regularly, with discipline and persistence. For nothing will happen if you don’t write and write often.
Here’s an approach to developing a writing schedule when you have a full time job or a family or both.
First, Write down the way you’re actually spending your time – Toggl is a free, web based time tracker that can help. Or you can do it in Excel, on your smart phone or just on a piece of paper. You need to be able to look at a fairly typical week and see exactly how much time you spend at work, on your commute, and/or shopping and running your kids from place to place.
Look for an hour or more you can write - The most obvious probably involves getting up an hour earlier or going to bed an hour later. I was able to make the former work for several years, never the latter. There may be other times – lunch hour is another favorite, particularly for those who get an hour for lunch. Maybe you could stop at a library of coffee shop and write on the way to work or on the way home. Or maybe, when you actually look at your schedule you’ll spot something you’re doing that could be dropped to create writing time. How about instead of the nightly news, either the early or late edition? You get the idea – pick one.
Make an appointment with yourself for that hour – a real appointment. Tell your family and/or friends and co-workers you won’t be available during that hour; don’t take phone calls or instant messages. Put the hour in your calendar for a week and watch what happens.
Track for a week and see if you keep your agreement with yourself – if you do, fine, extend it another week and see if it’s really working.
If you don’t keep that agreement, don’t beat yourself up. Just notice that you didn’t and ask yourself again if you really want to write now and if you do look at your schedule again. Decide if you want to keep to that schedule or change it.
Make an appointment with yourself again. Keep repeating this until you manage to carve out a regular time to write.
The regular time to write might be only two hours on the weekend, or an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or maybe only 30 minutes on a regular basis or even only 10 minutes – whole novels can be written 10 minutes at a time if you really write during those 10 minutes.
If you discover you simply can’t keep to any sort of regular writing schedule you’re either going to have to be content with writing on the fly, or give up the idea for the time being. Most, however, find they can work something out.
Know too, that at least some of your scheduled time will need to be devoted to the business side of your writing. And that your schedule will change over time.
How do you schedule part time writing?
Write well and often,
Working with a writing coach may be exactly what you need.