Adventures in Writing: Day Job Writing

If you’re new to this ‘writing thing’ and have a day job to pay your bills, you probably have no idea how to get in a little writing time when you’re supposed to be working.

Adventures in Writing

Disclaimer: No Slacking 

I am not giving you permission to slack off at work. If you have projects to do with deadlines, then I would suggest you focus on those first. You can still get in a little writing time here and there, even with deadlines. I am giving you permission to take a few minutes to doodle or jot down a few lines that popped into your head. I am giving you permission to take a break when you’re stuck, because focusing on something else when things aren’t connecting the way they should means you’re probably experiencing tunnel vision and can’t see passed it. Don’t lose your ability to pay for food and the bills (until you start making bank and have several emergency funds and so forth).

Lunch Break

I take my lunch break later in the day, usually around 2, depending. Sometimes it ends up being earlier, sometimes it ends up being later, but either way, I don’t eat on my lunch. I eat at my desk at noon and then on my actual 30-minute break, I write. If the day is beautiful, I shed a layer, grab my Asus and head outdoors. We do have seating outdoors, but you have to go through two locked doors to get there. So instead I sit in my vehicle, which is only through one locked door and not as long of a walk.

I also use my cell data as a mobile hotspot*. That way, I can’t get into trouble writing erotica on the work internet. Now, don’t think me an angel, I’ve broken that rule many times when it comes to writing – especially if I overhear something that I just have to put in my idea sheet.

*If you’re worried about data use – especially if you have a family plan with several people – I can tell you that I use just under 1 gig of data in a month. This is for 30 days, 30 minutes, 5 days a week. 

Cell Phone 

Speaking of cell phones, keep yours on you, if possible, all the time. Some places won’t allow cell phones in a meeting, but I take mine anyway and put it on silent. I keep it on vibrate at my desk. Yes, I take my phone to the restroom* with me. I’m one of those people who occasionally just needs a break away and will take a little longer in the restroom. It’s usually because I’m taking a few moments to write an idea or a comment on someone’s blog, or a reply comment here. I recommend pulling up the file or page you need before getting in there to save time.

*It’s also nice to have when people turn the light out, even though they know there’s someone else in the restroom with them. 

Scrap Paper 

If you’re in a meeting you don’t really need to pay attention to – say some kind of training class you took to burn some time, you can write notes on scrap paper, or a notepad. I recommend writing some notes regarding the training either intermingled with the story notes or on a piece above the story notes. If someone just glances, they might see the story notes, but unless it’s something explicit (ahem, don’t make them explicit) they’ll probably not concern themselves with whatever you’re writing.


First off, if the company you work for literally tracks people down for misuse of company-owned tech, don’t do this.

Second, if you get caught, own up to it, be honest. You don’t have to tell all the nitty gritty details, just say you were typing up a personal reminder note before you forgot.

Third, befriend your IT department if you can. Don’t be mean to them because they can make your work life hellacious if they choose to do so. If you’re cool with them, they might say ‘hey, stop looking at that porn at work or we’ll have to report it.’

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One Comment

  1. Great post! I always take scrap paper and my phone with me. Hell, I have note cards in my purse just in case my phone dies and I feel like writing down some story notes. No matter where a writer is, we have to write =)

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