Writing and Working Full-Time

by Miller C. Lashbrook

Today I wanted to write a post about writing while working full-time. At some point in a writer’s life they will have to write while also working full-time. It is inevitable. I had a professor in college that would say, “you have to ask yourself, how are you going to make enough money to buy a burrito?” I am in the burrito money stage right now. I have to pay the bills somehow.

Writing creatively requires a lot of emotionally energy that may not always be there at the end of a 9 to 5 work day. Being a teacher it can be difficult to come home at the end of the day and write after I have been looking at writing all day, or lecturing about Shakespeare. But, I have found that some of the best ideas come to me when I am in full work mode; this is why having a way to take notes during the work day is so crucial. I will jot down the idea and tuck it away for later when I am not helping high schoolers to learn the difference between a compound and a complex sentence. Before I leave for the day I will look back at any of those notes so that in the car on the way home, I can ruminate on the idea.

Once I am home, one of the last things I may want to do is sit down and plunk out 500 to 2000 words, but if the idea is in there already, I know I will want to get it out. Over the past two years of working full time I took those initial steps, but I was not very good about that final step of actually writing. I told myself I would do it on the weekend. This is why a daily writing goal can be so important. Even if my writing is tired garbage that day, I am 500 words closer to finishing that first draft. A daily writing goal was something that so many professors talked about; I read so many textbooks and memoirs where authors talked about the need of a daily writing goal, but I was sure I didn’t need it. If I could go back yell at my past self I would. A daily writing goal is exactly what I needed.

With all of that said, this week I put my daily writing goal on pause since it was my first week back to work since March. Monday I am going to go back to my goal of 500 words a day so that I can make sure that I meet my goal of finishing the first draft of The Duel by the end of 2020. Next Friday I will be back with a normal weekly writing update.

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