How to Write a Novel With a Full-Time Job
If you’ve ever written a book or if you’re planning to write one soon, then I’m sure you understand the pains that come with it. You can’t escape those long, torturous hours wrestling with yourself in your head about what your characters’ arcs will be. And once you do, you can’t help falling in love with these characters and spend agonizing nights wondering how to avoid killing them off. You can’t, and believe me I’ve tried, get yourself to start typing those first words when you finally finish the book in your head and sit down in front of your computer to transcribe it.
Sitting for eight hours straight, on consecutive nights, and writing your novel on a computer can seem like a daunting task. The way I do it is ill-advised – it involves unhealthy amounts of cigarettes and Red Bull. But I do have a few tips that can help you finish that book without killing yourself, or worse, quitting your job and going bankrupt.
Having a full-time job and wanting to write a book is actually a good thing. It allows you the freedom to write the story in your head during the day, while you’re warming the chairs during those boring meetings. On a serious note, the anticipation of a Friday evening when you can go home, strip down to your underwear, sit under the fan, and write your book is a very big motivator. Trust me, I look forward to Friday evenings more than the alcoholics do, because my high will last for the full weekend. And my hangovers are always beautiful.
I love the process of building a story. I love that fact that there are so many characters that you can create, make them do whatever you feel like, and basically, be a God to your own world. Here are my top tips for writing a novel while still holding down a full-time day job:
The temptation is great, I know. A dull Thursday afternoon with no meetings in sight and no deadlines chewing at your soul, and you will be tempted to start writing. Don’t. Take it from someone who’s done it and paid the price. I’ve deleted entire sections of my book because when I actually sat down to read it, I realized that what I’d written in the office was a load of shit. And, not to mention, you’ll probably get into trouble for using office time and resources for personal use. Especially if your manager or your boss hates humanity.
The best time to start writing your book is after dinner on a Friday night, after you’re done for the week. Be prepared to sacrifice those Friday night office parties and other non-essential social drinking sessions. You can always drink once your book is finished, and the alcohol will taste sweeter when you do. Your weekends are precious, so make sure you don’t waste them. I usually start writing at about 7.00 pm on Friday night and keep going till about 11.00 pm on Sunday. And I do this two weekends a month. Trust me, that’s enough, if you…
My strongest piece of advice to you is this – don’t open your computer to write until you’ve finished writing the entire story in your head. Make sure you know the plot lines inside and out and make sure you’ve punched enough holes in the story and patched them up before you start typing. Only when you are absolutely sure that the story is perfect in your head should you start typing it out.
That’s it. All the best, and I hope you finish your book soon. If these tips don’t help you and you actually end up getting fired from your job, then get in touch with me and we’ll talk about it over a beer.
Article Contributed by: Guest Author – Nikhil Kumar
An engineer, a biotechnologist, a journalist and an ad man; That would be one way of looking at 32- year old Nikhil Kumar if you want to describe him; Tony Stark style. Trying to call him ‘confused’ is more of an understatement. Starting off as an IT Engineer, Nikhil has jumped from one career to many trying to see where he would fit the bill. With brief stints as a journalist at Deccan Herald and degrees in Genetic Engineering from Buffalo, he ended up working in a PR agency. He’s spent the last seven years jumping from one ad agency after another, chasing a higher salary, like a good Indian boy.