Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Juggling Act: Working Full-time and Writing by Amy Clipston

I have a tremendous amount of respect for authors who work other full-time jobs and still manage to keep up with writing responsibilities. Today, one of those authors, Amy Clipston, provides tips for those seeking a writing career while they work another job. -- Sandy

Amy: People often ask me, “How do you work a full-time job and write books?” I resist the urge to roll my eyes, and instead I sweetly reply, “I just make it work.”

Unlike many authors, I work a full-time for a local government, in addition to writing four books per year for HarperCollins Christian Publishing.


While other authors may write for 14 hours straight on a Monday, I pop out of bed at 5:15 a.m. and rush to a job located 20 miles from my home. Since my husband has battled chronic kidney disease and endured two kidney transplants, my family depends on the health insurance and steady pay my job provides.

Balancing two jobs has forced me to be disciplined when I am on deadline. Only once in my writing career have I asked for a deadline extension. My remaining books have been submitted to my editor either on time or early.

In order to meet my deadlines, I follow these rules:

1. Keep a calendar

I carry an old-fashioned day planner with a list of my upcoming deadlines taped in the back. Aside from the dates my books are due to my editor, I also set my own deadlines, building in time to polish the book before submitting it.

2. Stay organized

Most authors fall into one of two categories: Pantsers (seat-of-the pants writers) or Plotters. I am most definitely a plotter. When I write a novel, I begin with a synopsis, and after my editor approves it, I turn the synopsis into a detailed outline arranged by chapter and scene. While writing, I use the outline as a road map to prevent the dreaded writer’s block. The outline will change and grow while I am writing, but it keeps me on track.


3. Write whenever possible!

Some nights I write until midnight. I work on weekends, and I’ve been known to bring my laptop to Urgent Care and the Emergency Room when I’ve had to accompany a family member. It may seem trivial if you only have fifteen minutes, but even short amounts of writing time will add to your word count.

4. Ask for help

Contrary to the rumors, I’m not Super-Woman, and I can’t do it all on my own. I couldn’t balance this demanding schedule without my mother, who lives with my family and me. She keeps our household running so I can balance writing and working.

5. Find time to rest

When I need a break, I enjoy watching movies with my family, and I relish listening to audio books in my car while I commute to and from work. The downtime helps me relax and also recharges my inspiration.

6. Celebrate success

When I finish a draft of a book, I reward myself with doing something fun with my family. The journey through the first draft is mentally and physically exhausting, so I give myself time to relax and enjoy what I have accomplished.

Although working two jobs isn’t ideal and sometimes it’s no fun at all, I enjoy my reward when I hold a new book in my hands.



Even if you don't work another full-time job, how do you balance all that life and a writing career throw at you and still get in your word count goal?

~~~~~~


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than two dozen novels. She holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Amy Clipston’s current book, The Courtship Basket, is the second in her new Amish Heirloom series.

24 comments:

  1. Amy, I appreciate your candor and organization. I too work full-time, and have to use time wisely. How do you write at night after working all day? I'm brain-dead by 8:00 am. Maybe that's because I get up at 4:00 to write a couple of hours before getting ready for work. :-) Thanks for the reinforcement.

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    1. Hi Kevin! Thanks for the comment. I think you already answered your question. If you write before work then I don't think you need to write at night. I can't imagine staying up late writing and getting up at 4 a.m. to write so more. I'm more of a night owl, and I write as late as my brain will allow. Keep writing!!

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  2. Hey Amy! So glad you're visiting us today. You really are super-woman because I know you speak to writers groups on the weekends, too.

    Thanks for sharing your secrets. Those are great ideas. Give everyone a hug for me.

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    1. Hi Angie! Thanks for commenting! So good to see you here. I hope you're doing well!

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  3. Amy, Great inspiration for a potential published writer. I feel you must be on overload putting in so many hours. Prayers for you and your husband. Thanks you!

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  4. Wow!

    You are Superwoman! :-)

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  5. Amy you are my new super hero! Your strategy is pretty much how I fit in reading the books! One day I will get to retire and reading will be my occupation! Thank you for filling my world.

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  6. Hey Amy! Love the interview:)

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  7. Great tips, Amy! So many people discount those small bits of time, but I find they're the key to getting a lot done.

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  8. Thanks for sharing your tips, Amy. Four books a year is amazing, but you've proven it can be done!

    How much time do you spend on marketing - and how do you find time to also fit that into a full schedule?

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    1. Hi Dawn! Fitting Marketing is a struggle too. I have a marketing student at a local college who helps run my street team for me. She's amazing! She does graphic design for me and plans monthly projects and contests for my street team. I also try to get onto social media at least once a day. It's overwhelming, but I do the best I can.

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  9. Amy - I work fulltime and finding writing time is tough. Staying up late works better for me than early morning.

    Thanks for showing it can be done. I've have to get more organized!

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    1. Thank you, Terri! I'm glad you found it helpful. Keep writing! :-)

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  10. Thank you so much for this, Amy--great encouragement to me!

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    1. Thank you, Heidi! I'm glad it was encouraging to you.

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  11. Amy, I love your tips for Working full time and writing. While I'm not a writer, I have done my fair share of being a mom, while balancing a job(s). I think your tips are fitting for anyone that does this fete. However, I will add one thing....usually being a woman helps (not always as there are some exceptional men out there). Keep up the excellent writing. I enjoy it and admire you immensely!!

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    1. Ha ha, Anna! I agree!! I do believe women are better at multitasking than men are. I love my hubby, but I'm much more organized than he is.

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  12. I don't write, I don't work full time. I work part-time and read a lot of your books and other Christian authors, thank you for all your do and thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful stories. I get caught up in the books I read. Praying for your continued writing and keeping strong.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea! I'm so honored that you read my books. Thank you for leaving a comment.

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