by Lisa Jordan
For the past 15 years, I’ve owned and operated my own state-registered in-home childcare program. My days are very busy and extremely noisy, but I reap many incredible blessings.
In 2011 I received my first publishing contract, so for the past two years, I’ve been juggling my day job with my night job. After dinner ends, I head to my laptop and spend a couple of hours adding words to my manuscript.
Most of the writers I know work full time-inside (yes, stay-at-home parents, this means you too) or outside the home-care for families, maintain church responsibilities and try to get enough sleep so they’re not zombies the next day. Whether you’re single or married, if you’re working full time, trying to build your writing career may seem incredible.
So how are writers able to find the time to write while working full time?
Many of them don’t have time, but the majority of them make the time to write.
This year at ACFW, I taught my first workshop-Building Your Writing Career While Working Full Time. At that time, I shared different elements that work for me to manage dual careers, family and other life obligations.
Brian Tracy said, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”
Fitzhugh Dodson said, “Without goals, and plans to read them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
With that in mind, setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps you to achieve them.
• Specific– make sure you know what you want to accomplish and you know what is at stake.
• Measurable– have a way to track your goal.
• Attainable– ensure your goal fits within your abilities and lifestyle.
• Realistic– maintain realistic expectations to reach your goal.
• Timely– set a start and stop date so you have focus while striving to reach your goal.
In addition to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, be sure you’re prepared for handling a writing career while maintaining your full time job.
• Be flexible– life happens. Have a backup plan in case life knocks you down. Also, be willing to ask for help.
• Organize your time– write down what you need to do each day, the organize it according the highest priority. Then delegate household tasks among family members to free up more writing time.
• Learn to say no– resist the urge to add more tasks to your already crazy schedules. Once you take control of your time and set boundaries, you will help others to take you more seriously.
• Schedule writing time– add this to your calendar like an appointment and let your family and friends know this is dedicated writing time. You’re more apt to follow through than waiting until you have time to write.
• Manage deadlines– schedule realistic deadlines to help you achieve them without losing your mind.
• Build relationships– forging real friendships with other writers and industry professionals may open new opportunities down the road.
Finding the time to write while balancing other life obligations is necessary in order to meet your dreams and deadlines. Building a writing career while working full time can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Just remember-God has called you down this path, and if you surrender your dreams and to-do lists to Him, He will work on your behalf to open those doors in His perfect time.
Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such, Lisa Jordan is an award-wining contemporary Christian romance author for Love Inspired. She believes in promises of hope and happily ever after and threads those themes into her stories. Learn more about her at www.lisajordanbooks.com.