How To Write When You Have A Demanding Job

In my last newsletter, I told you guys to ask me questions so that I could write blog posts and record videos to answer those questions.

You guys sent in some really great ones that I'm excited to answer today!

I recorded my answer in a video and put a transcript of that video below, so choose whatever you prefer to get the information you need to this very important question!

Hope you enjoy!


TRANSCRIPT:

Hi!

My name is Tomi Adeyemi and I'm the author of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE! I'm excited to come to you today to answer two of your writing questions.

Let's dive in!

Here's the first question I received:

Dear Tomi,

My dream is to write a novel, but I have zero time because I work in a high-pressure job that has nothing to do with writing. I can't afford to quit, but I also can't afford to let go of my dream. The problem is I come home exhausted each day, and the last thing I want to do is look at my laptop screen. How do I pursue my passion and keep my day job?

This is an awesome question because it's something that every single writer struggles with. I don't know any writer who hasn't struggled with this, and it's a question that hits home for me because this was my situation, too.

The answer isn't some big secret. What you have to do in this situation is:

  • make a plan
  • be okay with making a little bit of progress each day
  • find a time that you're going to write each and every day

(I have an article that goes into more detail about how to do this here!)

Now you tell me you come home exhausted each and every day from work, so that tells me immediately that your writing time should be before you go to work.

That means going to bed an hour earlier each night so that you can wake up an hour earlier each morning. And when you do wake up for that writing hour, don't look at your phone, don't check your email, nothing.

It needs to be sixty minutes of writing. Straight writing.

No research, no pinterest. Just sixty focused minutes of writing!

If you do that every single day, you will finish a first draft, you will revise, you will be able to query, you will be able to publish.

This is something I actually saw in one of the best, most successful writers of our time!

Once I went to a book launch moderated by Nicola Yoon. If you don't know her she's an amazing, multiple #1 NYT best-selling author of YA contemporary novels. A movie based off her first book Everything, Everything just came out and it was spectacular. Also, a movie based off her second books is in the works! She knows her stuff!

At this book launch, she shared the story of how she used to work in a financial firm that kept wall street hours. Her work hours started around 6am, so talk about a high pressure, demanding job!

She got up at 4am every morning for 3 years to write her first book. That means for 3 years, every morning from 4am to 6am, she was writing her book which would one day become a NYT best seller and a movie.

So that's just one story of how it is possible. I should also mention that Nicola was a mother during this time, so not only did she have a high pressure job to balance, she also had raising a young child to balance as well. But she committed, she made the time, and she made her dream come true!

I had a similar situation (just the opposite hours!)

When I was writing my first book, I worked at Legendary Entertainment. I had a demanding, analytical day job and I worked every morning from about 9am-6pm or 9am-7pm. After I got off, I would stay at the office and write until 10pm, 11pm, or 12am.

I did this everyday, 5 days a week, for 6 straight months to revise my first book and that book didn't even go anywhere. It got rejected!

But without my first book, I wouldn't have been able to write my second book, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE. So I need to do that, I needed to make that dedicated time everyday where I was working toward my dream in order to actually achieve my dream and get to write full time.

So in summary, the best thing I can say to you is to:

  • make a plan
  • be okay with making a little bit of progress each day
  • find the time that you're going to write each and every day (even if it's just an hour or thirty minutes each day!)

(read more about how to do this here!)

If you do that, then you will chop away at your book bit by bit, and you will be able to keep your day job and work toward your writing dream.

As long as you do that, you will be able to work toward your dream.