I am because I love my job at the same time I love writing.
I need to face the reality. Writing is a great profession but it will take a while for me to depend on it for a living.
So I am a writer at the same time I handle a team in my office. I am envisioning that one day, I can be a published novelist and I can produce a bestselling book that will touch the heart of the readers. But this desire doesn’t close my eyes from reality that I still need to pay my utility bills, mortgage, education fees, food and many others. In other words, the income must come to my pocket on a regular basis to support myself and my family.
Writing a book and have it published to the world would be a big achievement for an aspiring novelist like me. But the whole process will take considerable time, great effort, and patience to produce a bestselling book. I have read many blogs about the humble beginnings of many successful authors whose books made it to the bestselling charts nowadays. Before his/her book has reached the eyes of the million readers and received royalty fees, it took them years of patience and determination before the magic of the book helped them. Many successful authors have described the hardships and rejections that they have to face prior to their triumphs. Each submission to a publisher or “query” in publishing term may have a chance of success but it also comes with the possibility of a rejection. I asked myself, “Am I ready for this? Am I ready for possible rejection and negative critic for that?” My answer is a big YES. I am ready because there’s also my chance to be accepted and to be able to reach my audience. But I must accept that this will require not only my time and effort but also to invest a considerable amount of money so the material can be produced one day. Therefore, I need to earn so I can support my passion. It is like, you are into photography. But before you can produce a photograph that will showcase your talent, you need to have a very high-end DLSR camera. So you need to buy it. That is your investment.
So while working, I fueled my passion in writing. I continued to write and edit my book despite of my busy schedule. Many authors and editors have said, “Only send a query when you think your book is ready.” And so I put that in mind all the time as I assessed my writings. I worked eight hours a day. Finding time and editing can sometimes left me very exhausted or if not made my mind almost paralyzed, in metaphoric way, thinking how to squeeze my writing activities on a daily basis. But I told myself that I just can’t stop doing what I love to do and definitely, I cannot quit my job. So I should teach myself on how to manage my time. I have formulated my to-do list as my guide in order to make each day more productive.
1. Set your goal.
“What is my goal? What I want to become five years from now?” Those were some of the questions that I asked myself to have a clearer vision on what I really would like to do. After I have identified what I want, I fixed my focus to that. As I aimed it as my future achievement, every day becomes my stepping vessel to get there. So I obliged myself to secure my time for this goal. We have different goals in mind. In my case, I need to give time to write, to edit, to read, to study, to share, to interact, and to promote. I believed that these are the components that will bring me to where I want to be in the next few years; a published novelist.
How about you? What’s your goal? Know what you want and make it your target for achievement.
2. Manage your time.
As early as four o’clock in the morning, I’m already up and automatically started to assess my tasks for the day. Without any argue, the eight hours will be spent for my day job because aside from the fact that I am paid to work, I want to be responsible and reliable in the office. So the remaining question is what should I do during my early morning after I get up from bed, my lunch break, my after office hours and my after-dinner time? So I planned my activities. I decided to write in the morning before breakfast considering that my mind was recharged from a good night sleep. My thinking will be sharper when formulating ideas and the construction of words will become flawless. After lunch, I read to get more tips about writing and also to interact with other writers and authors via social media like twitter. I can learn from their experience and apply their wisdom to my craft. After office and during night-time when everybody is asleep but me, I reviewed what I have written in the morning and if my mind still permits, I do the editing. In most cases, I managed to edit at night. And so far, this is effective for me. I am now polishing my first novel as I write this article. It is a bit difficult in the beginning but you will get used to it.
So what do you do at the moment you get up from bed?
3. Decide what to prioritize.
Although I have plotted my daily itineraries, I still have to assess which one to prioritize. If I have a very important meeting in the office that requires me to spend more time to analyze and do more research, then I will adjust and reschedule my time for writing and editing. But it doesn’t mean that I would skip doing it. I need to make sure that at the end of the day, I can still place a check mark to all of my activities as I’ve planned. The big challenge here is to make sure that nothing is left behind. We need to place a balance in everything that we do. When I write at home, my attention can be snatched anytime when a member of the family needs me or if not when a house chore requires my attention. I know writers require more focus. Other writers and authors said that they needed to detach themselves from family and friends so they can clear up their mind and write effectively. In my case, I don’t want to sacrifice relationships just because I wanted to reach my goal. I want to share my dreams to my family. And I want them to be at my side every step of the way. That is my mind-setting since from the beginning. When they need something while I am writing, I would simply save my work and attend to their needs. And do you know what’s the fun part is? I shared what I have written so far and they will tell me their ideas about it. When I get back to my writing, I feel happy because aside from the fact that I showed them how important they are to me, they collaborated and helped me achieve my goal. So my dream becomes their dream because we think as one.
Do you know what to prioritize today?
4. Discipline yourself.
When you said to yourself that you are going to submit a report to your boss by the end of the week, do it and make sure you did it well. In my case, when I told myself that I need to finish a chapter of my book by tomorrow, then I will really make the time for it. Discipline for me means to diligently follow my schedule and give time to accomplish my tasks. Adjust as necessary but make sure that you will still make it. When I took the courage to follow my passion in writing a year ago, I realized how important time is. It all started when I took classes online about Creative Writing that I have to squeeze my time doing my homework without sacrificing the time for my work. Eventually, I was able to train myself on how to give importance to my time every day. Time flies too quickly that if we will not use every tick of the clock wisely, we will lose an opportunity. And another thing, we couldn’t follow our dreams if we are not fit. I make sure that I have a good diet and also I never fail to have my 45-minute exercise every other night.
Are you catching up a deadline? Just believe in yourself and never miss it. It’s a matter of discipline.
5. Do your planning.
Either for work or for passion, if we don’t plan, we won’t know where we are heading to. I always believe that everything can be accomplished if there is a proper planning and to stick to the plan. Of course it is inevitable that we take our alternative courses of action if something doesn’t go as planned. When we realized that plan A won’t work for us, we do plan B. But bottom line is, we are prepared for any outcome because of our good planning. After that night that I have decided to fuel my passion in writing, the first thing that I did was to plan. I am a Computer Engineer and although I can write, I still need to learn the ways on how to become an effective writer. So the first plan was, to enrol myself online. That was my stepping stone. Quitting my job was never part of the plan. I just carefully planned my time well and made it sure that I won’t sacrifice my performance at work despite of having my online classes. It was simple; I did my readings and homework at night and on Sundays.
So what do you plan to do to achieve your goal?
6. Organize your stuffs.
When I started writing, I bought another bag where I can place all the materials that I need as a writer. Let’s call it my Bag A. In my Bag A, my notebook where I wrote all my research stuffs about writing was placed inside. My personal laptop, my mobile modem, my writing pen, books and others were also there. I made it sure that no stuff related to my work was mixed. Things for my work were placed inside my Bag B. I bring these two bags with me every day. So when I get the chance to scan my notebook about my writing, it is very easy for me where to get it. Or if not, if my boss asked about my research about a project, I would simply open my Bag B to get the documents. If we organize our things properly, we can save not only our time but also we will spare ourselves from the trouble of locating what we need on that particular time.
There’s nothing impossible if we will put our hearts to whatever we do and whatever we want to achieve. We’ll just learn to accept that we can’t just drop something just to give way of what we desire. We follow dreams but we should also be practical. I love my job, I need it and I will keep it as long as I can. And I will also follow my dreams and my passion at the same time. If we really want it, there are many ways on how to achieve it. Quitting is not one of them.