Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balancing the day job with writing works in progress

I started a new job in the working world 6 weeks ago – you know, a job outside the home. For 2 years, I’ve been a full-time writer, making money writing articles, reports, and documents for clients. Now I’m teaching English as a Second Language at the university. When I took the teaching job, I was worried about how I could keep up with my writing. I knew I would have to cut back, but I was determined not to give it up all together because I’d worked so hard to build my repertoire and establish myself with my clients.

I only had one week between the time when the position was offered to me and when the job actually started. I spent that week doing reflective assessments of my work, my clients, and my income during my morning time. Then I wrote like crazy in the afternoons to get ahead with some of the projects I wanted to keep. This helped to secure my mind on what I could realistically do and to let go of the things I no longer needed to do for the income.

Now, 6 weeks into my day job, I realize that in essence, nothing has changed: the bulk of my time is spent doing work for the sake of bringing in money; personal writing happens only because of time management and my commitment to it. In both cases, the work that provides income has to come first, but it’s the personal works in progress that drives my inner most passion to write.

When I was dependent on my writing for all my income, I was keenly aware that writing for myself was taking away from writing time that would be paid. Now the two are more clearly separated: I go to an office at the university and classrooms to make money; I fulfill my writing desires at home and outside by the river. This frees me up considerably and writing is once again my playground!

The day job is chaotic and stressful. Some days I think it’s OK; other days I wonder if I can survive. But my final conclusion is that at least for now, this is exactly where I need to be.

The past 2 years of writing for clients served to establish good writing habits, self-motivation and self-discipline, speed, accuracy, good research skills and quick assessment skills, it helped to build confidence and it provided an excellent training ground for online writing, technical stuff, how to be resourceful, and how to make money writing.

In this new chapter of my life, I am ready and able to focus on my dream projects – those works in progress that have been stacked on my desk for way too long. Inspiration is beginning to rumble beneath the surface. I know this because my works in progress are hanging around my consciousness like dancing spirits preparing for a feast.

You too, can revive those old works in progress: put your day job in perspective and don’t bring it home with you. Clear your mind when you leave and let the writing festivities begin!


  1. Very inspiring! I am glad you are finding your balance with it all. I haven't worked on my WIP for two weeks. :( Not sure why... I think has to do with fear, though.... THINK?? Oh... it has to do with fear!! I will tackle it! I will devote FIVE HOURS to my WIP this weekend! I will get up, walk, shower, get all prettied up and take my WIP out on a date out of the house, free from distractions... why am I telling you this? I should blog about it! LOL YOU inspired me!!

  2. Thats putting your world in perspective! I'm glad its all working out for you. And its good advice too.