(Updated 7th October 2019)
Want to know how to write around a full-time job?
Working for yourself is the dream for most copywriters, heck I know it is for me, so taking that leap is enormous (check out My First Twelve Months As A Freelancer).
However, sacking off the 9-to-5 grind isn’t easy. You need to build a portfolio of work for starters, and when you‘re stuck in a dreary job, how do you keep yourself creative when your mind is buzzing with spreadsheets?
I’ll show you.
How to write around a full-time job
Being a writer while working full-time is bloody difficult. In fact, it’s draining. But don’t fear, it’s doable.
Here are some ways for you to stay creative – without sacrificing your day job as you build towards going freelance:
One. Keep a notepad close by at all times
Whether it’s for ideas on what to post on your blog, social media or a great line you could use on a project, a notepad is essential.
You’ll inevitably find a spare 20 seconds to jot down an idea. Don’t let that moment of inspiration wait until you get home because you’ll forget it (as I did once when out walking – gah!)
Two. Make every break productive
No matter how long or short your breaks are in work, use them.
- Start a blog post
- Post on social media
- Set up social media posts (using Buffer, Tailwind etc.)
- Research potential clients
- Cold email potential clients, or
- Write a little more of an ongoing project.
You can’t sit at your desk working on your business all day – but you can during your breaks.
Make them count.
Three. Network in work
How the hell can colleagues help?
Speak to them about your business, right now they don’t need to know you’re trying to wave them goodbye, but they can help you get more clients.
All you need to do is:
- Tell them what you do, and
- Ask them if their partners, families or friends have their own company and need your services
Make the most of those you spend the most time with. They could be vital to expanding your business and be the ones who tip you out of your 9-to-5 and into working for yourself.
Just make sure you’re not spending all your time selling your business at work – you’re there to do a job after all.
Four. Write every evening
Bit of a random piece of advice I’m going to give you here, when you get home from work:
Yes, for the first hour, make your tea, eat it and let yourself unwind for an hour.
Jumping from your day job to writing will boggle your brain. Give yourself time to switch off. Your mind will appreciate the change of pace and you’ll be more productive when you do sit down to write.
Then get started.
Continue the ongoing project, or follow through on chasing clients or posting on social media etc.
Build time to write into writing every night, even if it’s just half an hour.
You have to make it work for you, but even a short time spent writing will help to keep the habit.
Five. Stick to your plan
Your mates have invited you out for a few drinks, but you’d planned to spend your Saturday writing and working on building your business.
If you’ve made your plan, stick to it.
That’s not to say you can’t have a social life, or that you have to work non-stop all weekend, but if you have planned to work on your business – do it.
Life gets in the way sometimes, but if you let you plan slide this once more than likely, it’ll happen time and time again.
Six. Enjoy it
If you’re a writer, you love it. We’re all a little crazy. We all pull our hair out and we all worry we aren’t cut out for it, but when all is said and done, we love what we do.
So, enjoy it.
And the more you enjoy it, the better work you’ll produce (believe me, if you hate every second, it’ll show in your writing), helping you to receive glowing testimonials that’ll sway potential customers into using you.
Finding the balance between work, rest and play is different for everyone, so find a healthy schedule that works for you.
Now you know how to write around a full-time job – go out and do it!
Until next time,
PS. If you waiting for a testimonial from a client, one way that’ll nudge them along is to write one first – find out how in my blog post Why Testimonials Are For Everyone.