Why You Should Treat Writing Like a Job

Firstly, I want to clarify that I'm not telling you to make writing your job. It should not be a full-time or part-time or freelance job unless you truly want it to be and have no other financial concerns.


If you are still struggling financially, get an actual job that isn't writing.


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#1: Efficient Use of Time


When I had a full-time job in finance, I only had evenings to write. It was difficult because most of my energy and brain cells were already used at my job. However, I rented an office outside of home and inflated myself with three cups of coffee, buying myself 2 hours every night to write chapters for Ball of Nothing.


You have no idea how much you can accomplish in just two hours unless you strap a ticking time bomb to yourself. That urgency created productivity. I learned how to do all my plot outlining and research during lunch break so that I can have two hours of undisturbed writing. That amounted to anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 words in two hours. Probably more than what a writer who wrote full-time managed without a time frame.


#2: Sense of Accomplishment


The results spoke for themselves. Even if they were still unedited drafts, I felt like I could return home and get a shower with a weight off my shoulders. I liked writing and completing two chapters gave me a major sense of accomplishment. It might not be an entire book but it counted towards progress.


For me, any progress was better than none. The journey of a thousand miles always began with a single step and this was what I needed.


#3: Eliminate Procrastination


You don't have to go to the extremes I did and pay rent for an office only utilised two hours a day. However, procrastination will disappear when you have a deadline or a consequence to deal with. It was the most effective method to kick that lazy bone and ramp up production.


#4: Discipline


This is not the easiest skill to master. Discipline takes many years to cultivate and what better way to tell yourself to give a daily word count other than making it your job to do so? If you are made responsible for something, discipline automatically happens.


You are accountable towards your personal writing progress.


#5: Monitor Progress


I like to keep a word count diary so that I know how many words I wrote in a day. Using this, you will be able to estimate how much progress you can make in a month and plan your writing projects ahead. Making it a job means there will be project review time. Give yourself a fair self-appraisal and adjust the hours accordingly for balanced mental and physical health.


You worked hard. It is time to rest well and play hard too.


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In conclusion...


Just because it doesn't bring you the instant cheque doesn't mean you don't have to work hard at it. If anything, some writers who also hold full-time jobs claim that writing is harder than their jobs. However, we do it because we love it.


Writing as if you were getting paid gives you a sense of commitment that you won't get if you had nobody to be accountable to. Many writers are stuck in a loop of self-doubt or exhaustion that when we have free time, writing is probably not the first thing on our list. Making writing manageable is the first step to cultivating a good writing habit.

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