The life and times of a 9-5 employee in New York while trying to complete a novel.

Uhm … when can I write?

As I sit at my computer in midtown Manhattan, editing and seeking stories that people will be interested in, I find myself wondering, what about my own story?

I need to find time to write my own stuff, and when I commute an hour to and from work everyday, and work for nine hours a day, it’s rather trying.

So in order to give myself free time to write there are a few things I do.

1: Find little time throughout the workday.

Basically this means, instead of leaving for lunch, eat at my desk and write a few paragraphs between bites. I already try my best to save money by shopping, cooking and packing lunch instead of buying something in K-town (as good as the food is). So I’m already sitting at my desk anyway while I eat; I mine as well be writing, too. The day offers other opportunities to write as well. For instance, every now and then the Internet goes out and we basically have to twiddle our thumbs for 10 or 15 minutes – this is a great time to get a few ideas down as well.

2: Write on the commute.

This isn’t ideal for me, because I’m an avid reader – obsessive is probably more accurate, actually. Most of my commute is spent nose-deep in something of the nonfiction persuasion (I am attempting to write fiction outside of my blog, but in my last post I mention how important knowing about the real world is). I do enjoy fiction from time to time, but mostly not. Though, every once in a while, after a long day of heavy editing for example, the last thing I want to do is read or write. But in these moments I will force myself to go into my Google Docs app and jot a few paragraphs down between Manhattan and Flushing. I can’t go without doing anything. If all I do is listen to music or a podcast I feel like I’m wasting valuable time. Time spent reading, of course, I don’t consider a waste.

3: Make time to write after work.

This sometimes proves to be the hardest because I’m tired, hungry, and lazy – a deadly trio of a perfect storm that usually lands me in front of the TV watching YouTube videos, or Hulu, or whatever. But it’s increasingly important to find time to write. And since I don’t write in the morning (perhaps I should?), I make sure at least some time is spent in front of my laptop. And by some I mean no less than 30 minutes. That’s not a lot I know. But like I said, nights are my lazy time. The best time to write, for me anyway, is in the next section.

4: Saturdays are for the boys, and by ‘the boys’ I mean writing.

As are Sundays, by the way. I wake up and get to work, for hours. The weekends offer the best escape from work, social media, work, family, my fiancé (don’t tell her), work, friends … and did I mention work? My most productive time has always been on the weekend mornings. Ever since I completed my master’s while working full time I had to kiss late-night weekends goodbye and say hello to early mornings writing, creating, and producing. I never feel more at home than when I’m at home (duh), but in front of my computer on a weekend morning tapping away at my keyboard, creating a world of my own.

I know I can probably add “write in the mornings” to this list but I won’t do that, not as long as I have to be in the office early and I treasure my rest. Rest is important for the body and the mind. And my commute is long, assuming there’s no delays on the subway which makes it even longer. I should also mention that twice a week after work I hit the gym – deadlifting and squats are important, folks – and the body and mind work in tandem. So gym time is just as important as rest time. 

Bottom line: if I want to finish a project I have to work my ass off, even if that means sacrificing free time for work. If I ever get to the level where I don’t need a nine-to-five, things will be different. For now, working is part and parcel to being a novice novelist in the City.

How do YOU find time to write throughout your day? I’d love to know and I’m sure my readers would love to know, too. Please leave a comment and subscribe!