Don’t quit your day job. Writing with a 9 to 5

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a journalist while penning his tales.

I tell myself that once in a while. When the days are hectic and there is little time to write, I tell that to myself to make me feel better and less guilty for not writing as often as I would like.

Let’s face it. We have day jobs. We have to have day jobs. We have bills. But that doesn’t mean we don’t chase down our dream in our spare time, even if the spare time is five minutes.

One of the best comments I’ve gotten from this blog recently came from someone commenting on one of my Motivation Monday posts. I syndicate my Motivation Monday columns on SheWrites and the comment came from fellow member Allyson Whipple.She said that she uses her work for fodder in her stories. I thought that comment was perfect! Yes! Work is the fodder for our stories. and it’s free fodder. Perfect fodder. That makes it the story only we can write.

So why not write it? Why not use what you have in front of you for inspiration? Fiction, as you’ve heard me say before, is truth and what’s more true than where you work.

So how do you cultivate this wonderfulness? Well, that’s what I’m here for! Let me give you some ideas.

Characters galore!

Think Office Space. Every character there is in every office, even yours. What makes those characters so memorable is that everything about what they do, say, and act is true.

So who are characters in your office? The boss? The front desk clerk. The coworker who keeps stealing your pens? All of them are character gold! Watch them. Take notes. And make use of them.

Heroes and Villains

Every story has them–the hero or villain, the protagonist or the antagonist. Which one are you? Which of your coworkers are heroes or villains? By asking these questions, you start to develop some characters and are well on the way to finding a story.

Plot ideas

So a secretary tries to get her boss fired because she wants her friend to have his job. Interesting, no? Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction and the work place is where this is most true.

Job, offices, etc. are microcosms, meaning they are their own world. Just like it has it’s own unique characters, those character have their own motivations. Their motivation advance the plot of the workplace. Who wants what and why? And most importantly, what are they doing to get their heart’s desire. I’m sure you’ll find the basics– greed, power, etc.

Conflict



What’s plot without conflict! It’s everywhere in the workplace. That’s especially true when there are outside factors at work. Upcoming layoffs, a man or woman having a baby, a opening with more than one qualified candidate, a new boss. All of these are agitators to your story and makes for good fodder.

Hope this helps with the guilt of not writing and makes the 9 to 5 a bit easier to take. You may not look at your coworkers or gig the same way but oh the stories you’ll tell!

Here’s some more thoughts on writing with a day job from Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn. And here’s another writer’s thought on the subject.

Write On!

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2 thoughts on “Don’t quit your day job. Writing with a 9 to 5

  1. I have 2 books that I desperately want to write, right now! One is related to my business and needs to be written and another is a passion having nothing to do with need. It is difficult being in social media and online day and night to find the time. I too take a few minutes here and there, however, I think I am going to try to steal a weekend away. Leaving my work and 3 children, their activities and my responsibilities for just 2 days. I think alone time will inspire me. We all deserve "alone" time. Great article!

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