BECOMING A FULL-TIME AUTHOR – is a dream career for a lot of people. The reality is, almost every writer has to publish their first books while working a full-time job doing something else (usually, something not nearly as fun…)
(Quick note: if you’ve got the Monday blues – whatever day of the week it is – turn up the first 30 seconds to full volume. Trust me, you’ll feel better).
But when the opportunity finally comes that you can jump into “being an author” full time, you’ll often find that suddenly having an extra 8 hours a day where you’re responsible for your own work isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems…
So in this video, I’ll talk about my experiences writing 5 novels while working a full-time office job, and how switching to a full-time career working from home impacted my productivity (in a bad way) – and what I did about it – including my #1 tip for any aspiring full-time authors out there.
WANT SOME FREE TRAINING?
I’m supporting a charity promo right now and offering some detailed training on how to run successful boxed-set launches.
Normally this training would be $97, but I’m giving it away for free for anyone who supports Well Aware (a clean-water charity) by purchasing a copy of our new sci-fi boxed set, Galaxia.
We’ve already cleared well over 2,000+ copies during pre-launch and I’d love to show you how we did it.
Just buy a copy for 99c, support a great charity, and I’ll send you the training during the last week of September.
Click below to get the boxed set and receive the free training:
^^ I’ll email you with a link on September 17th (when the book officially releases) where you can enter a password and sign up for the training. The password will be hidden in the book, which you’ll get delivered to your e-reader on that date. So grab it on pre-order while it’s only 99c and I’ll do the rest!
Not on the email list? Sign up here to make sure you’re notified when the training link is released (mid September)
And please leave a comment!
What are your “ninja tips” for getting more done, either during your “other job” or while working from home? Also, if you’ve grabbed a copy of Galaxia, let me know! Leave a comment below:
I can understand your point about the focussed approach during small windows but I find that very difficult. I drive an hour to work so I don’t have any commute time, my lunch is only twenty minutes and I spend most of that eating my lunch. I don’t really have meetings. After I drive home for an hour, I have three kids waiting for me to spend time with them. My small windows are usually crammed in between their bed time and mine. When I get a day off, I can write like crazy and often will write 5000 or 6000 words in a day, sometimes more. I feel like I would benefit greatly from not having to write around my work schedule.
sounds like you get TONS done during those days off! Nice job 🙂
Jason, while driving too and from work, speak into a tape player. There are apps you can download on your phone, then put it in a holder while you drive. I plot my stories all the time on tape then go home and type up what I’ve said. You’ll be amazed how much you get done.
When I quit my full time job as a public school teacher about a year ago, I just knew I’d have the most productive year yet! WRONG. For some reason all this ‘free time’ has translated into a lack of productivity. You nailed it – procrastination is a killer. The other thing is the lack of a schedule. I was forced to fit my writing into an already tight schedule, but now I spend way more time watching netflix (damn them!) or other activities that have little to do with my goals. Having a schedule works for me, so I now try to schedule in my writing time, marketing time etc. along with basically every area of life. (Household chores, menu planning, grocery shopping, exercise etc…) If I don’t stick to the plan religiously, I don’t stress about it, (the plan is there to serve me, not be my slave driver) but it allows me to skip the ‘thinking about what I need to do’ and allows me to just do it. Thanks for this great glimpse into your reality. At least I know i’m not alone in this!
It’s what people never tell you! Self-discipline to sit down at a computer isn’t easy (especially with the kids on summer holidays… #hellmonth)
I agree with Tracy and some others. I thought retirement would bring massive productivity. No such luck. Over the past eight years, I have only three completed drafts to show for it. Not Writer’s Block – I find it difficult to make myself do the editing and revision work, too – but simply garden variety procrastination. Interested in your thought for a remedy.
The internal thing I have the most trouble with is procrastination, and the thing that’s most directed towards is editing. I have more than twenty first drafts lying around. I keep cranking out a new first draft every November during NaNoWriMo, though. It’s what I do. If you have a magic focus helmet, send that puppy over here, will you?
I’m hoping to get one for Christmas…
What charity are you supporting?
Well Aware: https://wellawareworld.org/
Hi Nick, oh yes!! procrastination is my evil friend. I work in the insurance corporate world and have a side hustle as a copywriter. After a daily dose of everyday routine activities, I find myself in a tizzy, with delirious excitement to write the next page in my speculative fiction novel. I go down a rabbit hole researching the concepts that are facinating in my mind, only to run out of energy. I desperately need to find a way to fullfill my passion for my Novel.
I have been trying to write full time from home and I have found two tools to keep me focused. First, I use a playlist of “thinking music,” usually Baroque or classical, sometimes Michael Hyatt’s writing playlist. I keep this on when I’m writing. Second, I use Alexa to set reminders for 55 minutes and 8 minutes. After 55 minutes I must get up and do something that involves movement, such as cleaning or exercising for 8 minutes, and I change the music to something more vigorous. Then, after back to 55 minutes of writing. Now I find myself trying to crush the unimportant things into the 8 minutes, and over time, the “thinking music” has developed into my cue (does the name Pavlov ring a bell?) to start writing again. Doesn’t always work, but it gives me some structure.
My Pavlovian queue is a small glass of bourbon. 🥃
In my full time job, I’m a props designer. I’ve been trying finish my first book, a collection of short horror stories, for several years. My favorite form of procrastination is writing more short horror stories. I’ve written about sixty five stories, enough to fill five good sized books, but almost all of them are still in a first draft state. My first book has thirteen stories and so far I only have one of them finished. I have an editor I’m working with who tears my stories apart and then it takes me a lot of courage and a lot of time to go back in and rebuild them. I know I’ve got to focus and split my time between writing new stuff and finishing my old stuff otherwise I’m gonna be stuck in this loop of never actually finishing anything and I’ll never have that triumphant moment when I hit that publish button.
Your link to Amazon USA to preorder the book isn’t working
Amazon decided to glitch it – something to do with the placeholder file. Should go back up again in a few hours #yayamazon
Still not up as of August 21
Yeah we had an issue with Amazon – they yanked it because they hadn’t seen the contacts (they hadn’t asked for them either) and this is 30 day before it goes live. Totally arbitrary. It should go up again shortly, in the meantime you can still get it from any of the other stores 🙂
Very much in Jason Freeman’s headspace — three young kids, full-time job, driving commute, evenings largely-though-not-quite-entirely consumed by housework and family time. I can sometimes write at breakfast or lunch, but sometimes I’ve got lunch meetings or I’m just in a rush and have to eat breakfast at my desk (or skip it). I can usually get in 250-500 words a day between breakfast, lunch, and inter-bedtime zone, which isn’t as fast as I’d like but is a hell of a lot more than zero. Would love to double that to 1000.
… having complained about all this, maybe I should take Kathryn Bain’s advice and try to dictate. I can’t do it very well in the car because I work very close to my kids’ school, so I get very little time actually on my own in the car… but maybe I could do it on a walk after lunch? Hmm…
I, too, used to be very productive when I only had a small window to work on writing. When I was supposed to focus on something else, that’s when my creative juices really kicked in – during school or at my job, I’d really want to write instead of focus on work.
Now that I’ve turned writing into a job, my problem isn’t so much (anymore) procrastination, but trying to find the fun in writing again and treat it like a past-time rather than as a job. I find I tend to keep track of the time when I’m writing, to mark how long I’ve been working, rather than focus on getting everything out before I run out of juice. I have better days than others, but now that I’m making it a part of my future/livelihood, I have a hard time reconnecting with the fun side of writing.
I work full-time, so I have to find time outside to work on my writing. That means waking up extra early to get some writing done (I find I’m more focused when I’m not tired), and going to a cafe or library after work (if I go home, since I’m always exhausted, it’s game over).
During my holidays, if it’s a staycation particularly, I’m also prone to not getting anything done at all unless I go outside to work (I am the queen of procrastination). Because, indeed, if I don’t have the day job to go to, I’m otherwise less compelled to write immediately whenever I can, and end up being a lot less productive.
To stay motivated, I also read a lot–on the craft of writing and non-fiction if I’m in the brainstorming process of a story, or other novels if I’m actually writing/editing (it’s almost like having mentors around 24/7 ^^).
Hey Nick – those Amazon links are not working for the Galaxia box set for me from Asia and I even tried searching the title on Kindle on .com – nothing. Not sure what’s happened there… And Procrustes is my middle name. I can write a 100k+ draft novel with first edits completed in a month or so and get the final edition published in a twelve week cycle, but I can only do that using mega bursts of energy. I actually prefer doing that to slogging out 1k or 2k words a day. I should write 3 such novels a year but I am lazy too – I have managed two to date and last year, just one. I hate all the marketing stuff too. Needs must though. When I stop ads etc, my sales plummet. That’s when Procrustes most often rears his ugly head! Your vids and the 10k course are hugely motivational so thanks for prodding me along the way. 🙂
Nice work – 100k words is a great achievement! And Amazon decided to glitch Galaxia – something to do with the placeholder file. Should go back up again in a few hours #yayamazon
I work four days a week so have my day for writing on Fridays. I also find time to write some evenings and weekends when I have a bit of free time. I find that when I write, I feel better to be alternating between writing and activity, such as walking in the backyard and feeling the sun on my face or exercising. I also keep myself hydrated during my hourly breaks. I focus on a ‘to-do list’ and check them off too. Meditation helps to give me ideas.
That’s some sound advice up there. I have 3 kids, full time job and a house half-way through self-inflicted and self-carried out refurbishment. I have to say that the best piece of advice, so far, was given to me by Peter Newman. I was struggling to get much work done, once the day was over. Writing any longer amount seemed like an impossible task at 11 or 12pm. So Pete told me that he cheats himself into just writing small amounts. Weather it’s a hundred or even fifty words, the goal is set low enough not to be intimidating but high enough to kick the creative neurons into gear and carry through resulting in much higher word count. Most days anyway. Some days I just feel I live in the zoo…
I fully understand Pete’s plan.
I found setting a tiny “can’t miss it” goal worked well for me. My problem was working without a map. I set a goal of a minimum of 50 words and was able to meet that every day for a few months. However, writing without an outline meant my work couldn’t become part of a whole and it all felt unproductive. I am creating an outline and hope to write a book 50+ words at a time, rather than a collection of random notes.
As a full-time writer at home, my strategy is to start the day at the computer with a few hours of straight writing, before getting distracted with emails and social media.
Just tried to purchase the Galaxia boxed set but none of the link buttons are working. Tried to do it the old-fashioned way: went to Amazon U.S. and entered the book – it’s not showing up.
Amazon decided to glitch it – something to do with the placeholder file. Should go back up again in a few hours #yayamazon
When I’m at work I write on breaks with a note book. When I’m on my days off – I work a shift work job that has rotating days and night with days off in the week – I sometimes or should I say often times make the mistake of wasting time before getting to writing. I have in the past used what Dan Kennedy does in his No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs does which is to use the first hour of everyday after getting up for writing – a habit that I will get back into.
I also have the problem with searching for the book but it was not showing up.
posted earlier but it somehow didn’t make it on here. when at work I would write on breaks in a notebook, on days off when I’ve been my most productive I did what Dan Kennedy mentions in his No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs which is the first hour every day is used for writing projects.
I work full time, and if I have a day off (bank holiday, waiting in for deliveries, etc) I find I get bugger all done.
Maybe it’s a scarcity mindset thing. When you have the whole day, you don’t focus; when you’ve only got a few minutes here and there, you value them much more and you plan them out carefully.
I work at a full-time IT job which can often leave me brain-dead, but I push through it most night. I do eat my lunch at my desk so there 5 x 30 minutes per week and on good days, I can put down 500+ words during that time. When my kids were young and do swimming lessons, dance lessons, or guitar lessons, I’d bring my laptop and write. On weekends, I’m often up by 6am and just go into my den and write. Maybe someday soon I’ll experience the being home all the time and getting nothing done problem.
Loved this vid, Nick. I was laid off at Christmas from my full-time job in the city and went freelance for several months. All good as it turns out, except that, as you point out, I was getting more words down when I was commuting to and from London. I’d roll out of bed at 5am, would be writing on the train (5.40 – 6.15am) then a couple of hours in Pret till I started work. Then writing again on the train home and some marketing bits in the evening. I was smashing it. Sort of. Now I’m in a part-time job, 15 mins up the road from my house and getting a lot less writing done! I’ve lost that early morning routine/habit which ‘forced’ me to write on the train, etc. But I’ll find it again soon.
God bless Pret! Yeah I have to find ways to “force” myself too. Introducing deadlines works!
Sad to see the link isn’t working for US. I searched and can’t find it either.
Back up now!
It is inconceivable to me that someone could write 5k words an hour, no matter how much they concentrate. If I really concentrate for several hours at a stretch, I can do 3k. My typing speed isn’t great. I’ve tried dictation and then having it transcribe automatically but my efforts so far have not been rewarding. I spend more time correcting than I would have done typing it.
All that aside, I have 2 part-time businesses and full responsibility for the home, cooking and shopping. I work from home, which for my husband translates into “you have all the time in the world to take care of things.” So it’s hard sometimes to find any time at all to write. I’m in the process of revamping my schedule and sticking to it, regardless of other demands. Wish me luck.
I’ve definitely noticed that when I’m teaching English as a foreign language, I get a lot more writing done, for all the reasons above. I took a year off teaching a couple of years ago and it was a disaster – I was much less productive, got bored and unhappy etc. Also I nearly went bankrupt because my trad royalties tanked at the same time.
I can write a thousand words in an hour — but only for one hour. I’d love to be more productive but not sure how: I used to routinely write 2 thousand words in a couple of hours, but then there was a lot of rewriting. I definitely believe in rewriting: if you don’t do it, your writing is often uneven and half-cooked and there are so many books I’ve read that just needed one more draft to be excellent but didn’t get it and so are only good. I rewrite emails, blogposts and even Facebook posts because of that difference.
At the moment I’m taking L-tryptophan to see if that helps.