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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Really having trouble working. I mean, I am supposed to be engineering stuff right now...

Ahem, anyway, how many of you still have your day jobs? Do you find it hard to focus on them as well? Is your job getting more boring? Mine seems to be.

Any advice for how to block writing out? Is it even possible?

Also interested to know who here writes without the intention of it becoming their main job. If so, how do you keep your focus when you are at work?

Cheers!
 

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My day job (as a database manager) has boring spells, frustrating spells and occasional interesting spells.
Generally I use the compartmentalisation skills I learned when things were going badly wrong at home to treat my work environment as a different, calmer world where nothing really matters. This also works well when everyone else is getting into a panic about things.
During the boring spells I do drift off and start thinking about my current/next novel but through the wonder of multi-tasking I can often still appear to be in the room and focussing on work. When I have a frustrating spell when nothing seems to be going right at work, I remind myself I have writing to go back to, and when things are interesting I just enjoy that.
I do always have notebooks with me where I can write down ideas as soon as they appear, but more usually I find ideas can be marinating in my mind as I work without the need to write anything down immediately. This is particularly effective during something like NaNoWriMo when I try to write a chunk of my novel before work, sometimes another chunk at lunchtime and then more when I get home at the end of the day. In between the writing times I can think out what happens next.
This all sounds quite organised but it hasn't always been like this! I've had to find a way of coping that suits me and it has taken years.
 

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You are not alone. I struggle with this everyday. Writing is on my mind 24/7. Sometimes I can't even sleep at night because I'm always thinking about new ideas, or changes to something I wrote previously. I try to block it out but I can't. I dream about not having to work a day job anymore, or working less at a day job so I can have more time to write. But sometimes those adventures in my head help me get through the day. Then there are times when I can't focus on anything else because I'm thinking about my stories too much. It's a never ending battle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
cecilia_writer said:
My day job (as a database manager) has boring spells, frustrating spells and occasional interesting spells.
Generally I use the compartmentalisation skills I learned when things were going badly wrong at home to treat my work environment as a different, calmer world where nothing really matters. This also works well when everyone else is getting into a panic about things.
During the boring spells I do drift off and start thinking about my current/next novel but through the wonder of multi-tasking I can often still appear to be in the room and focussing on work. When I have a frustrating spell when nothing seems to be going right at work, I remind myself I have writing to go back to, and when things are interesting I just enjoy that.
I do always have notebooks with me where I can write down ideas as soon as they appear, but more usually I find ideas can be marinating in my mind as I work without the need to write anything down immediately. This is particularly effective during something like NaNoWriMo when I try to write a chunk of my novel before work, sometimes another chunk at lunchtime and then more when I get home at the end of the day. In between the writing times I can think out what happens next.
This all sounds quite organised but it hasn't always been like this! I've had to find a way of coping that suits me and it has taken years.
Yeah I think at the moment I am just having a bit of a boring spell, once things get a bit more busy it should be better. I think the whole writing and working thing will seem a little better once I have something actually published too.

Its very true that at least I have one to go back to when the other is in a down spell. Recently work has been boring, but its also pumped me up for editing!

I like the idea of treating work like a different world. I'll give that a try. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Edward Lake said:
You are not alone. I struggle with this everyday. Writing is on my mind 24/7. Sometimes I can't even sleep at night because I'm always thinking about new ideas, or changes to something I wrote previously. I try to block it out but I can't. I dream about not having to work a day job anymore, or working less at a day job so I can have more time to write. But sometimes those adventures in my head help me get through the day. Then there are times when I can't focus on anything else because I'm thinking about my stories too much. It's a never ending battle.
Sounds like you want to quit your job and be a full time writer, good luck!

For me I am not sure if I want to do this as a full time job yet. I love engineering. An ideal for me would maybe be working about 30 hours a week, since I think the structure is good for writing anyway.

Anyone out there that doesn't want to quit their day job, even if they could?
 

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I find it's best to focus on the bills that need to be paid - which clarifies my thinking immensely.

If that doesn't work I try to focus on the reason I want to pay the bills - my wife, my house, my cat...

Worse comes to worse you're just going to have to start reminding yourself - "Hey, I need all of this engineering crap to pay for the time that I use to write."

Left brain on, right brain off.

Click.

Right brain on, left brain off.

Click...
 

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This happens to me all the time. I manage a language school and do the Cambridge English exams. I'm not passionate about my job, but it's all right. My workers are great and I really like handling the official exams.

The best part is that my job has so many slow days that I can spend hours working on my writing. However, there's a downside to this: sometimes I'm so focused on my writing that I forget those little things...reply to an email...return a call... :-\

My recommendation to you is to make a list of things you want to achieve in your writing. It can be a daily list or a weekly one--whatever suits you best. Then, I'd make a list of all the tasks you have to accomplish that day or week at work. Once you have the lists, start working on them and ticking things off them. I'd start with work, since, as Steve Vernon said, it's what pays the bills.

A to-do list--and a reasonable schedule to go along with it--can put things into perspective. Force yourself to concentrate on your work, but allow yourself some writing time if it's a slow day. We can't completely smother the muse once it calls!  :p
 

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I can relate to all the above, especially when in between projects and everything is quiet in the office... plus the new management refocus helps push me into planning, outlining or working on elements for the curent book in progress to escape it all. Frankly, I need to keep doing this job for the time being, but I sure don't enjoy it like I used to... so having the books to work on, or as a previous poster said 'jotting notes down' helps save my sanity.
 

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Right now i do commercial writing in a field I used to work in and some freelance tech work to pay the bills and keep kids in school. I am very grateful to the companies who give me this work. Sometimes I almost feel guilty because i know a lot of people who have to go through a lot more than I do to earn their daily bread and feed their kids.

But it is hard to focus when I just want to be immersed in the next story (or the next several stories).

Still I believe I am more likely to come up with the next idea when I'm not actually actively writing my stories. The muse always seems to bite me when I'm doing something else.
 

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Heck, yeah. 
I'm okay as long as it's really busy here, but when it isn't I think about my WIP or hang out on these boards!
I'd a sickness! I need intervention.

I'm distracted the rest of the time, as well.  The other day I was so intensely thinking about a new planet I am creating that I had nearly put on my coat before realizing that I should probably put pants on, first.
 

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Oh my gosh, Shane! Story of my life right now. I'm a lawyer and own my own business and I have just lost my passion for the law. The tough economy just means I don't get paid because I have employees to support first.  Add those two things together and I loathe coming into work. It is a constant struggle to not think about my writing because that's really what makes me feel all sparkly!!!  In fact, I should be working right now on a case and I am here instead.
 

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You are definitely not alone. Since my day job is also writing-focused (blogging for a wedding florist) it's not too rough on me. But there are definitely times where I just want to dedicate a 12-hour work day to nothing but writing my novel. I figure it's better to feel this way and struggle with it than face writer's block. (Gotta think positively. :D )

I've tried to separate my day job from my writing by doing two days a week for day job, three for writing.
I've also tried the half-day for one and half for the other.
Then one month I'll stick to my 2/3 day routine, and the next month I'll do my half-day routine. (I've yet to find a real sweet spot.)

What helps me set writing time aside now and then is when I tell myself that the day job is consistent pay and it is something I really enjoy doing. That helps me focus. Then I remind myself that it's healthy to have that "something else" outside of writing. And since I write chick lit doing work in the wedding industry can only help and inspire!

What I like to do is keep a pen and pocket-sized notebook on me at all times and when I feel like I'm getting the writing bug during the day job I quickly jot down my ideas or write a few lines of poetry or something. It's a good way to cater to the creative writer inside, but still stay focused on work. It's tiny notebook time, then back to the computer for the day job. No fuss.

Not much help, maybe, but hey! You're not alone if that makes you feel better. ;)
 

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I am retired so have plenty of time to write.  However, I write as a hobby so if I don't write it is not a big deal.  This year I have published 2 short stories and one full novel.  I am working on another short story and two novels.  If I were working full time, I might have a problem with concentrating on the job though. Once a book starts it tends to fill my mind so I don't think about a lot else.

My goal is to publish 12 books this year so should be able to do it.  I publish only with Amazon because I have good results with them. 

I don't have any numbers of words to write each day.  When I am in the mood I may write for 3 or 4 hours or maybe only ten minutes.  I have no deadlines to get them finished.  Usually I think about the storyline, usually early in the mornings and then start typing.  The novel writes itself.

One thing that I have noticed is that my novels seem to be getting longer as I get more experience. 
 

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I have a "day" job (though, it's a day/night job depending), but I adore my job(s). I'm living the dream right now, teaching adults about writing. I'm an adjunct faculty at two schools, which means I don't work full time (more like 25 hours a week tops), but I get paid plenty on a semi-regular basis. In turn, it allows me to write and publish. Sometimes, I wish I could just write, but we can't afford that since there isn't enough income generated from my books (or Husband's job) yet. I think about writing all the time, especially when I'm grading mounds of papers. But really, I adore what I do now, so I'm in no hurry to cut it out completely.
 

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Steve Vernon said:
Worse comes to worse you're just going to have to start reminding yourself - "Hey, I need all of this engineering crap to pay for the time that I use to write."
This is my strategy.
 

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Quiss said:
The other day I was so intensely thinking about a new planet I am creating that I had nearly put on my coat before realizing that I should probably put pants on, first.
LOL, now i have an idea for literary fiction! (wrong thread)
 

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Part time receptionist here. I write that with, ahem, enthusiasm.

I find it hard to switch from writer to day job and vice versa. Although, I would quite like to start calling writing my day job soon.
 

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Shane Murray said:
Sounds like you want to quit your job and be a full time writer, good luck!

For me I am not sure if I want to do this as a full time job yet. I love engineering. An ideal for me would maybe be working about 30 hours a week, since I think the structure is good for writing anyway.

Anyone out there that doesn't want to quit their day job, even if they could?
I've wanted to be an author since high school. I'm 23 now, and that's all I have thought of all these years. I want to be as successful as I can be. And I believe I can make a career out of writing. I think about waking up in the morning and being able to work from home. That's all I want out of life. I consider myself an entertainer. To share my stories with others and give them a few hours to escape is the best thing in the world. But it looks like you have a nice job that gives you stability. It would be hard to walk away from something like that.
 
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