Discover more from Snippets with Coffee Stains
Writer With a Day Job
When, where, how, why, and (hopefully, finally) what
I was once invited to teach a workshop on how to be a writer with a day job. I made an outline and brought handouts with useful tips as well as a starter calendar to help participants discover when they could put aside time to pursue their literary passions.
What I had expected to be an interactive lecture turned into more of a group brainstorming discussion, which was even better. It was fascinating to listen to all the ways the people in the group found moments to step outside their daily to-do lists to honor their commitment to their writing practice (and, by extension, to themselves).
I love talking to artists of all kinds about their creative processes - that behind-the-scenes work that we all do but no one sees. My hope for this space is that it will be a place where readers can pick up some ideas to make their creative lives easier or more abundant. I will share snapshots of what works for me, and I invite you to do the same in the comments.
Most of the paid work I’ve done is copywriting for various clients through a company that works with them to improve their SEO, but the work I really love is fiction and creative nonfiction. Ideally, these projects will be published and available for purchase someday. But apparently, they have to be finished first. You’re welcome to (gently, occasionally) ask about that, too.
Working full-time at one job and part-time at another does not seem like it would leave a lot of time to write, particularly if one is also an active member of many book clubs and occasionally wants to see their friends and family. That perception is accurate. It is not easy. It is slow-going and frustrating to have all these ideas and a short window of time to get them down. It is just as frustrating to have one beautiful scene and not even the vaguest idea about what else to do with it. However, I manage more often than not, and I’m convinced you can, too.
[Re: the one beautiful scene, because I just can’t help myself - my first piece of advice. Do nothing else with it. What you have there is a perfect piece of microfiction. If you can’t find anything else to do with it, maybe that’s because it’s finished. Declare it so and move on.]
I am a planner nerd, so I am delighted to wax philosophical about all things practical -my schedule and checklists and word count strategies and editing angst - to anyone who will listen. That’s what the free content is going to be. Topics are likely to be as varied as the creative process itself but will probably look a lot like this:
When do I find time to write?
Where do I do most of my writing?
How do I come up with project ideas I’m excited about?
Why do I even bother (I know some of you are feeling this one)?
If and when I decide to add a paid component, it will be to share some of the outcomes of this work.
I think your creative life can be as rewarding and extravagant as you dream it can be, even if you have a full-time job doing something else. I hope something you find here can help you on your way.
Thanks for reading Suzanne’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.