As a working dad, with a family to support, you may find yourself occasionally plagued by bouts of frustration that you never seem to have time or energy available to work on your real passions — assuming you haven’t already made them your day job.
Out of all the dream careers that frequently go unexplored and lead to bitter longing is the life path of the author, whether in the hard-living Ernest Hemingway format, or something more cerebral and refined. With days filled with work and evenings spent with family, the life of a successful novelist can all too often seem like a distant pipe dream.
As it so happens, however, there are ways you can set about successfully writing a book while keeping your full-time day job and clinging to the financial security it provides.
Here are a few tips.
Consider serialising chapters online
Back in the heady literary days of yore, one of the most popular ways for an author to get their work out to the world was for them to serialise it through a magazine, with new chapters being released on a regular basis, until the entire book was out there.
Think of the way that episodes and seasons of a TV show are released, and you’re on the right track.
The idea of serialising novels has largely fallen out of fashion today, but don’t be so hasty to turn your nose up at it. Some of the greatest literary classics of all time, including Heart of Darkness, Treasure Island, and Crime and Punishment were originally serialised.
Today, you can serialise your book as you write, by releasing a chapter at a time on your blog. Of course, you’ll have to attract your own audience, and local SEO services may help here.
While you won’t make money by releasing your content online for free, you can gain a following, and then compile all the chapters into a self-published for-sale ebook down the line.
Capitalise on those precious free hours and work systematically, come what may
Jack London, one of the most famous authors of all time, and prolific, too, once commented “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
London stuck to a writing schedule of 1,000 words every day, even when captaining his own boat in Pacific waters, and stricken with mysterious fevers.
Find those precious free moments in the day — whether it means getting up an hour early, or skipping some web-surfing in the evening — and do a set amount of writing each day without fail.
Structure and plot your book before writing it
There are a few different approaches to writing a novel, with some people being ardent plotters, and others preferring to cut loose and write with no plan in mind, and see where the story takes them.
Structuring and plotting out the narrative arc of your book is, however, a great way of ensuring that you get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of how you spend your writing time.
By doing things this way, you get to avoid a lot of meandering plotlines and throat-clearing, and the need for future rewrites.
You’re also able to get a “big picture” sense of things and determine how long, roughly, the novel should take to write.