A Working Writer

I work. I write. I work at working. I work at writing. Sometimes I try to work on both of them in the same day.

I’ve worked at working a long time. I’ve worked at writing even longer. And even though I’m not a best-selling author (yet), I have a few thoughts about trying to fit the two of them together. Not that I actually DO these things all the time, mind you. But at least I’m starting to recognize the important issues, at least for my own life.

1.  You have to be committed.
Writing is hard, and writing while you hold down a full-time job is even harder. If you’re not committed to making it happen, all you’re going to do is walk around saying that you’re an writer. And never actually writing anything. Trust me.

2.  You have to be disciplined.
You don’t have as much time to write as a full-time writer, so you have to use the time you do have effectively. If you don’t get in the habit of using the 15 minutes you have now, you’ll fritter away a whole day if one becomes available. Trust me on this one too.

3.  You have to make time to read.
Reading is a writer’s joy and life blood. You learn the most about writing by reading what other people have written-the good and the bad stuff. The more you read, the more you understand how writing works. Plus, we love it, right? Why else would we want to be writers?

4.  You have to make time to write.
Duh. Writer’s write. They don’t just talk about writing. Writers write consistently, hopefully every day. This is another one I’m still having trouble with. I write, but not consistently. I let life get in the way.

5.  You have to write new stuff, not just revise.
Take it from me, when you only have a short time you can devote to writing, it’s very easy to get stuck on revisions. Revising something already written is easier than writing something new. But you have to write new things, even if it’s just a new sentence, because otherwise you get stuck in what was and never move on to the new.

6.  You have to have a support network.
Whether you’re single, like me, or married to a devoted spouse, you need people who will cheer you on – and won’t let you stop when that’s what you think you want to do. Remember – writing is hard. Writing while you work a full time (or even part time) job is harder. Writing with kids is probably the hardest of all. You need people who care that you’re doing it.

And last but not least, you have to remember that, no matter what other demands you have on your time, you can do it if you want it badly enough. You can finish. You can write.


  1. Excellent set of rules, not that I am a writer or have any concept of what it is like – but I definitely agree with rule 6! 🙂


  1. Challenge says:

    […] reasons for this, and some of those reasons have given rise to other goals, but as I’ve said before, if you want to be a writer, you have to make a commitment.  A commitment to yourself and to your […]

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