Following on from my post about blogging while working full time, this awesome guest post from Dyllan S. Becker is on a cousin topic: how to start writing creatively while working full time.
Dyllan S. Becker is an aspiring author and content creator from the Eastern United States. He has recently been published in a short story anthology, The Apocrypha Files: From the Ashes, Rise, and should have more projects to announce in the near future. To stay up to date on his work, you can follow him on Twitter at @DyllanSBecker.
Starting a creative writing career is hard. It’s hard if you went to school for English for four years. It’s hard if you went to school for something like science or business. No matter which way you cut it, starting to write creatively is a daunting task.No matter which way you cut it, starting to write creatively is a daunting task.Click To Tweet
While writing can be gruelling, painstaking work, it can also bring a great deal of joy. To see something come from nothing is immensely satisfying, but the journey to the end product is fraught with pitfalls and roadblocks.
The main roadblock for many of us, however, is that at some point or another, we decided against a career in the arts and are working full time. But that full-time job just isn’t cutting it and writing is calling to us like a long-lost friend waiting to be welcomed back into our hearts.
So, where do you go from here? Luckily, I’ve cultivated a few bits of advice to help you, no matter where you are on your pathway to a career in creative writing.
Just Start Writing
Anywhere you look, whether it be Buzzfeed lists or message boards, this one piece of advice will keep popping up again and again: just start. It’s a tried and true method and one that a lot of professional writers use. In fact, it’s the thing that I did about a year and a half ago.
For most, this can be a daunting task. If you’ve got an idea for something, start with that. Just go with it and see where it takes you. There. You’ve started. Now that you’ve started, you can go back and outline and plan characters and anything else that you will need in order to make your story work and to make it the best it can be.
Not Everything Will Work
Another thing that you should know is that not everything is going to work. You may start writing a story and plan it and think it’s the next great American novel only to realize that once you’ve finished, you basically wrote a 1950s version of Romeo and Juliet. And there’s nothing wrong with Greaser Romeo, but sometimes, things just don’t work.
Don’t get discouraged if that happens to you. Set it aside and come back to it later if you get another idea. A little twist is all that it takes to make something cliché and turn it into something original.
And if you’re still not reassured, just remember that it took Lin-Manuel Miranda nearly five years to get to the final iteration of Hamilton. There were a lot of discarded songs and scenes and characters involved in there, but look what we have now.
A Push in the Right Direction
If you don’t have an idea to work with, please don’t be discouraged. You’ve got the drive, and that’s what matters. Now you’ve just got to find that spark.
Free writing is the exercise of just sitting down to a computer, or with pen and paper, and writing. Just write off the top of your head, stream of consciousness style. This can help get the juices going and get you in the right head space in order to think of ideas.
The internet is full of terrific people who can come up with ideas and just share them to see what kind of stories appear. Reddit has r/WritingPrompts which has literally thousands of different prompts to get you started writing. One of these prompts may turn into the idea for your first novel!
Scheduling time to write
Particularly with a full-time job, it can be hard to find the time to write. My advice is to start with a small amount of time, say half an hour. Go to a café or curl up on your couch and say, “for this next half hour, I will write.” Setting apart this time helps to make writing a priority rather than some nebulous thing you can do when you get to it.
If you want to start writing, even with a full-time job, you just have to do it. Just write. Start putting words together and see where they take you!
Are you a creative writer and full time worker? Comment and share!