By Vitold Muratov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84177788

I’m feeling nostalgic today.  See, once upon a time, I was a full time writer.   I wrote 4-5 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, and although I often chastised myself for not optimizing my time or failing to have better structure, I did have a routine.

And I had a squad of fellow full time authors.  Together we cheered each other through writing sprints and industry dramas.  We felt connected – to one another and to the publishing world.

But as the industry shifted, so did my writing world.  Some members of my squad suffered career setbacks.  Others found their writing income unable to keep up with life expenses.  Others simply got tired.  More and more of us returned to day jobs.  Writing has once again become something I do part-time and alone.

Now I know I was one of the lucky ones. Most writers never have the luxury of giving up their day job, let alone have the chance to chase the dream for as long as I did.  I also happen to like my day job.  The people there keep me grounded in reality.

Every once in a while, though, I find myself missing the old days when I could lay out my writing goals and not wonder where I was going to find the time to get everything written and I didn’t feel as though I had to make every second of my writing days count.

The Real Problem

Three years into my day job, I still don’t have a good writing routine.  It’s either feast or word famine.  When I’m close to deadline, every second of non book store time is dedicated to writing words.  I don’t clean. I don’t read. I don’t have a life.   When I’m not on deadline, I struggle to maintain forward momentum.

Some days I think I need better structure; other days I think I need to redefine my writing identity.

Ahhh, there’s the real problem.  For the past ten years, being a full-time writer has been a giant piece of my identity.  Now I am a person who writes.  Semantics maybe, but the difference is real.  One of my goals in 2020, as I tackle the whole self-awareness, self-compassion, self-care thing,  is to understand that difference.

Then maybe these wobble days will be fewer and farther between.

How do you balance your creative self with your practical, need-to-earn-a-paycheck self?  Share your advice.

  1. How did I balance writing life with work life with personal life with time for me life(to recharge). It was stressful and very difficult and the older I got, the more overwhelming it became. Then serendipity struck and I got laid off and the job I finally found after hunting for months fell through (corporate restructure). I was less than a year from being 62 so we waited it out and I retired and went on social security. My husband was still working at that time and that gave me the time and space I needed to write again.
    I don’t recommend this way of finding the time, hits your self esteem when you can’t find a job for a while but slowly, very slowly, writing became my job.
    So now I write as Emma Robuck for contemporary sweetly sexy romance and EmmaLee Saunders for the naughty stuff. I am happy and writing every day. Finished one book in the series I am writing and almost halfway through the second, just since 1-1-20. I am in my happy place.

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