‘Second-Shift Writing’ Musings for Those of Us with Full-time Jobs

Late night writing and coffeeMost of us who write for a living are not solely writing for a living. Writing is our second-shift work that comes after our daily work. Perhaps, you’re also a stay-at-home mom, who has to write after the household is managed.  The one work affords us the ability to do the other.

If you’re a second-shift writer, then maybe you can benefit from some of the things I’ve learned.

  1. It is hard to juggle a full-time job, then come home or go to Starbucks to write for hours.  It is hard, but it is necessary to meet contractual obligations or the greatest obligation to self.
  2. It takes commitment to turn down social engagements or not watch TV or chat on the telephone to write after a long day at another job.
  3. Writing after a day job is the thing you do when no one is watching. In a nutshell, it is a test of character and work ethic to devote 100% to a task that is only evidenced in a finished project.
  4. Second-shift writing is not for the faint at heart. It requires a lot of strength and fortitude to write for the love it but more so to work towards the goal of a book.
  5. Those of us who write after work tend to be passionate about what we do. I’ve yet to meet the author who viewed it as total drudgery. It is something that has to be desired.
  6. There are times when you accomplish more when you have limited time than when you have all of the time in the world. That said, second-shift writing can be productive.
  7. Second-shift writing is the humble beginning most of us will never forget. Talk to a full-time author and they will tell you that they began in the evenings after a day job.

So, the next time you are tempted to romanticize the writer’s life, think about all of us who write after a full-time, often demanding, day job. What I do is far from romantic, but it is rewarding.

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