Photo Source: Pixabay
Photo Source: Pixabay
Balancing your day job with your passion for writing and reading is hard. The day job is important. You need a regular paycheck and insurance for survival.
So unless you’re a Dean Koontz with a spouse who is willing to give you five years to make it with her working full-time to support you or you have enough wealth, savings, or other sources of income, you need a day job.
You need to manage your time to keep yourself fiscally, spiritually and physically fit. You need a sound body and a sound mind as you write. You need time for a spouse or whoever your relationship is with.
Your spouse isn’t going to cook, clean, and give sex on demand to you while you hibernate in your office researching, reading, and writing. You have to invest time in your relationship(s).
Let’s face it, there are days when you are too tired or exhausted to write. There are other days where all you feel like is reading. The reading recharges your energy and is fodder for future writing.
Notice I used the word regularly, not daily.
Why not daily? Because you will have some days you cannot write. If you are trying daily and miss a day you will feel guilty and may give up. If you just write one page a day for 25 out of 30 days in a month that is a 300-page book in just one year!
You can find the time to write if it’s your passion. You can find the balance to do it. Go for it!
Photo Source: Pixabay
Below is a little guide I put together. I call it “One Great Way to Discipline Yourself for Success.”
Proverbs 25:8 – Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 13: 3 – He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 19:11 – A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Ephesians 5:15-16 – Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Proverbs 21:20 – The wise person saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.
I Thessalonians 4:4 – Each of you should learn to control his own body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect …
The above Bible verses offer a Bible-based, common sense approach to success.
Photo Source: Pixaby
Over the years I have noticed people who have the ability and skill to do a task or assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer, they may fear to put words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.
I have found that a little encouragement helps them achieve their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage others.
What are some ways you encourage friends or coworkers? These techniques also work with your spouse or partner. Please share your suggestions in the comments.
Photo Source: Pixaby
I was sixty-four years old before I was able to write full-time and I don’t make enough money off my writing to support myself solely on my writing income. I required having multiple streams of income to achieve this goal. It also took my being debt free.
Even with my simple lifestyle, my combined earnings from my writing income, interest received on savings, and earnings from a 403B, my income is about what an hourly employee at a big box store earns. I am only able to write full-time through frugality, lack of debt, and a very modest lifestyle.
I have been writing full-time for twelve months. The plus is I have earned money from my writing every month. The minus is the monthly income from just writing has never made me four figures in a month. It helped that I understood the business, have been writing and regularly publishing since 1981, and had multiple books and articles published.
The late Ray Bradbury was one of the first who said don’t plan on making money writing. Bradbury and his wife, who “took a vow of poverty” to marry him, hit thirty-seven years old before they could afford a car. For years he sold newspapers on the street corner to get enough money to pay the rent. He even used a pay typewriter in the UCLA library that charged him twenty-five cents per thirty minutes of writing before he earned enough money to buy his own.
You can be a working writer and earn a modest income. According to BookScan, the average U.S. book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime. With average royalties that’s less than $5,000 a year for a book and less than $60,000 over a book’s lifetime for an Indie author, you cannot survive on just that income. The earnings figure is significantly less for traditionally published authors.
You can see detailed information on author earnings at Author Earnings.
Photo Source: Pixaby
Albert Einstein said, “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”
My undergraduate education is a liberal arts education. My major was history and my minors were English and military science. My Master of Arts degree is in Christian education. My broad-based liberal arts education did more than prepare me for a job. It provided the foundation that allows me to compete in the marketplace of ideas. I also completed the core curriculum for a computer science degree.
It has been 43 years since I heard the University of Texas at Arlington President Dr. Nedderman say I had met the requirements for my bachelor’s degree. Within minutes of his pronouncement, I raised my right hand and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army through Army ROTC.
I did not make the military a career. Three years later I headed to graduate school. I was amazed at how prepared I was. I knew how to read, write, study, do research and write research papers, and most importantly how to think.
My UT Arlington liberal arts education taught me how to think independently and make sound judgments. I learned how to expand my horizons, discover new perspectives, and acquire the tools to defend my point of view. My education helped me learn to reflect on life, have a moral and historic compass where I can distinguish good from evil, justice from injustice, and what is noble and beautiful from what is useful.
I have been employed over the years as an officer in the US Army, a minister, educator, corporate trainer, Internet Coordinator, IT Support Analyst, IT Systems Administrator IT Application Engineer, and writer. These have been my day jobs that have supported my 38 plus years of freelance writing. When working in IT it is interesting to see how many persons have undergraduate degrees in the liberal art disciplines. These are the people that know how to think outside the box. These are the people with excellent critical thinking skills. These are the persons that embrace change and know how to successfully deal with it.
What have I done with my history degree? All the above plus I have published hundreds of magazine and trade journal articles. I have published poetry. I have written book reviews. I have a website “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews.” The site was named a 100 best websites for history buffs. I read and review military history books published under more than a dozen different imprints.
I get asked often by younger adults how I know so much about so much. They say I am a modern renaissance man. My answer: I received a liberal arts education at the University of Texas at Arlington.
How committed am I to a liberal arts education? I have three grown children – all three were liberal arts degrees.
Photo Source: Image created and shared by Jerri Kemble, assistant superintendent at Lawrence (KS) Public Schools, after reading Scott Hartley’s “The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World.”
I remember watching the movie “The Graduate” when I was in high school. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman’s character was given one word of advice upon his college graduation. The word was “plastic.”
I want to give my fellow writers one word of advice. No, it’s not the word plastic. The word is “neuroplasticity.”
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This includes changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment, thinking, emotions, and, of course, head injury.
Did you know these changes in neural pathways and synapses decide, among other things, our creativity? You read that correctly, creativity.
What this means is our brain changes its functional structure based on our thoughts, environment, behavior, emotions, etc.
The application to writing is by changing our neural pathways and synapses, we can be more creative in our writing. That’s one reason writer’s retreats make us feel so wonderful. It’s also why people write in various locations like Starbucks, the library, or even the food court in a shopping mall. The change in scenery is the secret.
Sometimes I do something as simple as going to a different Starbucks or a walk in a different place and find myself filled with new ideas, thoughts, and creativity.
It’s amazing how changing the sights, sounds, and smells can change how we feel and think.
My going to my writing-table at Starbucks helps my productivity. I have ten Starbucks in my metropolitan area that I frequent, though the one I am at this morning is my “primary first draft writing site.”
If you find your writing in a rut, why not try a change of scenery. You’ll be amazed at its impact on your thinking and creativity.
Google “neuroplasticity and creativity” and “neuroplasticity and writing” to learn more on the subject.
Note: The photo is of the Starbucks where I normally do my morning writing.