One recent Thursday night, I needed to finish up my work day, run to the gym, whiz through my routine, and scarf down supper so I could make it to my sanctuary (yes, the local Starbucks), where I could drown myself in a grande Earl Gray hot tea and revisions to my upcoming novel. It happened, though not on the timeline I’d planned.

Such as the life of a writer who works full time at her job and then works some more on what can only be described as a calling and passion.

It also drove me to blog about being a novelist with a day job. It’s a typical scenario for many of us who write. Some of us are single and have to work. Others of us are moms who have what’s essentially a full-time job caring for children. Still others of us work at a full-time job that is another part of our calling.

I fall into that last category.

For those who are thinking about writing as well as working full time, I want to offer encouragement. It’s possible, but it takes careful consideration to strike that delicate balance between working full time and writing. Below are five questions to consider.

Why do I want to write? I love this question because I sometimes get this question during casual conversation. For me, I can’t not write. God has given me this gift, and I need to exercise it. Some may say that they are bursting with stories to tell. It’s good to know why writing is so important to us because if the desire isn’t strong, the dedication needed will fade at the first sign of adversity.

What are my life’s priorities? The pursuit of writing requires many hours at the computer. If priorities aren’t considered, it has the potential to do more harm than good. Here’s some things to think about when considering working full time and writing:

  • Do I have a marriage that needs nurturing?
  • Do I have children?
  • What would I like my level of involvement in the church and the community to be?
  • What other hobbies do I have that I want to continue?
  • How demanding is my day job?

It may turn out that we’re not at a point in life where beginning a writing career is the best thing. That’s okay because keeping priorities straight is more crucial than our names in a byline.

What will I have to sacrifice? Face it. Working full time, writing, and doing well at both requires sacrifice on some level. It may mean missing time with friends, giving up going to a church retreat, or spending an evening with the family. The biggest thing is our willingness to make the sacrifices needed but not at the expense of those we love.

Do I have the drive to write? I love this question because if the drive to write is there, then sacrifice those we love will be worth it. It goes back to what I mentioned above. Drive equates to this burning desire to spend the time needed to put fingers to keyboard for a great novel. Drive also pushes us to move past the disappointments that occur along the way.

Do I have the support to write? I’ve found that having the support of loved ones is the thing that keeps me going the most as I endeavor to fulfill my passion in writing while working full time. My husband has been my greatest cheerleader, and I’m so appreciative of that. He’s provided me with the time I need, challenged me to make my writing better, and has encouraged me at times when I’ve wanted to quit.

I’ll be the first to say that writing while working full time is not easy. The neat thing? Writing has brought me great joy because of the fulfillment I’ve found in creating stories that people enjoy. It makes the sacrifices required worth it. Still, I would have never been able to do this without the encouragement and support from those around me.

I hope that future blog posts on this topic will be an encouragement to those who are endeavoring to write while working full time.

Question: If you work, desire to write, and feel comfortable in sharing, what are the challenges you’re facing in starting to write?

This post does not mention any products. Therefore, I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255:
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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  1. Alice Wisler says:

    Great post, Jennifer! I have always admired your tenacity to write your wonderful novels. I’ve had many seasons in my writing life: working full time and being single mom to three school-age kids while working on contracted novels, writing full time with novel contracts and still being mom (and newly-married), and where I am now—–working at our own business full time with my husband and writing whenever I can. The challenge to make time for writing is harder than it’s ever been. Owning your own business never takes a break, but since writing is my main passion, I have learned (slowly) how to make it all work.