A writer’s ideal world would be making enough money from their writing to write full time and give up their day job. I’ve seen countless writers say this on blogs or writing forums, but what’s the reality? It seems the odds of ‘the big break’ are about the same as winning the lottery! That’s not to say all of us writers and poets out there must despair. Quite the opposite, actually.

A blurred line between day job and writing...

A blurred line between day job and writing…

A good day job doesn’t necessarily have to affect writing time. It really depends on what you do. I’ve read a lot of famous writers’ bios and most of them took the route that I think is best to maximise writing time: working in a school. I had a lovely 6 week break from the end of July and cranked out quite a lot of work during that time. Now that I’m back for autumn term, it doesn’t have to be all brown-leaves-and-winter-despair, to get poetic with it all. Setting goals helps and making time to write, not finding time. If you wait for time to come to you, you’ll be lost amidst all those blank pages – forever.

...can be fixed by working on your lunch break!

…can be fixed by working on your lunch break!

Of course, it’s a fine balance. You have to do your day job, first and foremost… the bills won’t pay themselves (I wish). And you can’t ignore your colleagues. One too many times, I’ve been caught up in my writing with my headphones on and being completely anti-social. Juggling writing with a full time job takes balance. Anything extra is a bonus. As for me? I count myself lucky that I can do what I love at work and after – running my young writer groups by day and writing alongside my partner-in-rhyme (I apologise for the terrible pun!) Joseph Robert by night. After all, a writer writes, then eats and sleeps (often in that order). Remember to get up for stretches regularly, all you type-a-holics. And for those of you who write longhand – don’t get knuckle cramps. I speak from experience here; I had a productive summer, since the mind is always willing, but sometimes the body can’t cope!

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their rambunctious toddler, a voracious reader of dinosaur board books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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