The Life of an Author with a Full-Time Day Job

Posted February 18, 2016 by Amanda Shofner in Writing / 4 Comments


Authoring is hard.

Authoring when you work full-time and edit for a few return clients on the side is even harder.

Light Rail Station at Fort SnellingEvery morning, I get on the light rail to go into work, and I’m filled with thoughts and plans and ideas, high on the fact that I just got 30 minutes of quality writing or editing accomplished.

Author victory!

On the way home, I’m usually composing some kind of message to someone. (Why is that? Is it just this week? I don’t know. Apparently light rail time is quality email-composing time.)

An hour after I get home, I’ve poured myself a glass of wine and eaten something, and am contemplating how much I actually have to do versus how much I can get away with not doing.

I’m supposed to do what now?

Downtime, that magical thing, doesn’t quite exist for me. I work on the weekends. When I’m not working, I’m preparing for the week to come.

(I just paused writing this post to get laundry started because maybe I should have clean clothes tomorrow for work. And then I poured myself some wine because I was up. And because wine.)

Life happens.

Life happens whether you work full-time and write on the side or whether you write full-time. And authoring is difficult no matter what you do.

My author life right now? Barely happening. The hardest part? Being okay with it.

Learn and accept your limitations.

Everyone has limitations. The number of changes and upheavals I’ve had in my life in the past six months? Too many to count. Every bump in the road jostles my careful writing routine and my capacity for producing books.

Planning Stages of the Writing ProcessDid I want to have a book published by this time? YES! But I also spent my summer writing 100,000 words that I shelved. Then I wrote 80,000 more on a different book, and I’m publishing that. Well, I’m editing it.

Publishing seems like a pipe dream right now.

(It’s not and I know it, but it seems too far off to be realistic.)

Breathe, Amanda. Breathe.

Forgiving yourself is hard. Being okay with taking time for yourself when you feel like you have a million other things you should be doing is hard, too.

No matter how many times I learn this lesson—to breathe and step back and take care of myself—I have to relearn it.

I have to be okay with 30 minutes a day devoted to my own books. I have to be okay with saying, “No” or “Not right now.” I have to be okay with pushing my own stuff to the side when I have to meet a deadline for something I’ve promised to do.

I have to take time for myself.

So if you’re wondering where I am? I’ve got my head down, working, or I’m creeping across Twitter and Facebook. Or, like, now, I’m drinking wine and contemplating everything I have to do, and how I need to prioritize it.

Which is obviously why I’m writing a blog post.

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4 responses to “The Life of an Author with a Full-Time Day Job

  1. I think this is great universal advice. As someone in the last year that hasn’t had much time for anything outside of work (because of things–dang things)–this is a good thing to remember. So I didn’t get to work on the personal project that I had slated to be done by now, I have to remember that being adult sometimes means other things come first and then taking care of myself (recharging) is more important that meeting that personal project deadline! Great POST!

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