I had exactly the same problem when I first started to work towards my writing career. I was already in another job in a bank call centre which I absolutely hated. Hate is a strong word, I know, and I don't use it very often at all. But in this case it is the perfect word to describe how I felt. It was the most soul-destroying, uncreative job I could possibly think of (I know there are probably many worse jobs, but that's how I felt!). The problem was that when I got home, I was so fed up that I didn't want to write, and I was in the completely wrong head space to produce anything decent. Things only improved when I realised that I had to be proactive and get writing, otherwise I would be stuck in that job forever!
So I thought I would blog about the things that worked for me when trying to write alongside another job.
- If work stresses you out, do whatever you need to do to relax and get in the writing frame of mind. Take a bath, meditate, go for a walk, have a glass of wine - whatever works. While you're doing that, just mull over a few ideas in your mind for whatever you want to work on. That should help kickstart your writing muscles!
- Remember that writing can provide a great escape. This was the best thing for me to bear in mind, especially as I was attempting fiction alongside my rubbish job. It made me totally forget how much I hated that job.
- If time is an issue for you, try getting up half an hour earlier, or stay up an extra half hour when the rest of the family have gone to bed. I have heard other people say this works for them, particularly those with children! The quiet time first thing in the morning or last thing at night can be very relaxing and inspiring, and it's surprising how much you can achieve in half an hour. (Not being a morning person, I quite like night time writing)
- Think of the free time you have (a break at work, waiting for a doctor's appointment, when the kids are at nursery or school, or at a friend or family member's house, etc etc) and use it! Even fifteen minutes can be valuable, and if you know you have a finite slot you should be more productive. I find if I have a full day to spend on writing I procrastinate a lot more than if I'm writing between other commitments.
- Another point related to the one above is to set yourself targets - 500 words in half an hour, 1000 words in half an hour, 200 words in 10 minutes. Whatever time you have, set a word target that is achievable for you and try and smash it. Personally I find this works as I HATE not hitting a target.
- Write down ideas as they come to you - this will help you be more efficient when you actually get a chance to sit down and write. Keep a notebook or dictaphone close by, or use the notes function on your phone - whatever works, just write that idea down rather than lose it. We always think we can remember things but in reality there is so much else going on in our lives that we forget almost instantly! (Or at least, I do)