Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland September 7, 2012 - 11:39pm

 I've started writing again and its affecting my performance at work.  Writing has become my only priority and unfortunately my job doesn't allow for a creative outlet. Can any of you hold back the creative flow at work. I find it extremely difficult not to stop what I'm doing when a new idea sparks. I write on my lunch break, I take breaks I shouldn't to scratch on notepads and hand towells. I'm constantly creating again and constantly find myself ignoring obligations. How do I find the balance.

My job is not overly important but until I find something better it's all I got. 


ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books September 8, 2012 - 12:23am

Have you ever been like REALLY hungry? Imagine that for days at a time, but without the comfort of electricity...

I'm kidding. Unless you think that would work.

I've always been able to zone in on work, I have a pretty good work ethic, particularly if I am on a "team" where I feel others are counting on me. I'm a stay at home mom now, and yes--writing affects that to a degree, but it's different when the thing distracting you from your goals is little, cute, and came out of your uterus (not implying you have one).

But yeah. I feel you. Maybe you should dedicate yourself to writing until you can't think when you get home, and taking work as a brain break.


Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks September 8, 2012 - 12:29am

My last job involved a lot of routine -- first I was a front desk clerk who also had to do laundry, then a housekeeper, so the absolute drudgery was so beneficial to my writing. Once I got into the zone doing laundry, my mind flowed freely and I could come up with anything. I also have a fairly excellent memory, so I could write stories in my head and then put the pen to paper when I got home. I had more trouble concentrating on my breaks than while actually doing something.

As a housekeeper, the work was so painful because of my back injury that the only way I could make it through the day was to write in my head to distract myself. Since everything was practically muscle memory, it was easy to not fuck up and seem like I was putting my entire self into it without breaking my writing stride. It's like when your mind wanders while driving a familiar route and you get there and can't remember the drive because your mind wandered.

So if your job requires any sort of routine, use it to write. If not, try to work on it in your head so it's less apparent -- take less breaks and just repeat things over and over so you never forget.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland November 21, 2012 - 5:41pm

Since, I first posted this thread I have found ways to better balance it but I still catch my self hiding in the bathroom writing lines on toilet paper from time to time.  

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated November 21, 2012 - 6:55am

At least the Spam let me notice this thread.

Coincidentally I work night so I don't have a day job, haha. But writing actually helps. I have to do something to stay up and alert.

Sound's picture
Sound from Azusa, CA is reading Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt November 21, 2012 - 7:23am

My commute to work is about an hour and a half, so I do most of my thinking, brainstorming, and "writing" on the road. If I think of something I really don't want to forget I'll type it into my phone app and when I get home I write. I used to have a job that was a lot of routine and that was awesome for writing at work without it affecting me, but now my job requires a lot of different responsibilities that really require all my attention, can change at any moment, and do not follow a set of steps. 

I guess what I'm saying is that I learned to tune out of the writing mind when at work. I still think of certain things between tasks, but usually it's nothing worth jotting down. I think of the real gems on my way in to work. In fact, I'd say 90% of the stories I've workshopped here have been ideas I thought of while driving. I do log in to LitReactor more often than I should while at work. They haven't noticed, though. 

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 21, 2012 - 5:31pm

It's more the opposite for me. I have a creatively-taxing job, and there's often not much left in the tank when I get home. I have to stay pretty focused durign the day, juggling various stages of production (I make videos), so there's not enough time-chunks to get into any kind of a "zone." But as someone else mentioned, I'll dictate an idea or two into my phone's voice recorder now and then. I live near work, usually go home for lunch, and can sometimes get in some left-brained writing edits then, but not creation. 

Where writiing affects my work, it's lack of sleep. I average around six hours because my creativity seems to peak around 11pm. But moving near work was the best decision I ever made: more free time each day, not arriving at work/home in a road rage from rush hour, cheaper car insurance, and a low-mileage car.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines November 21, 2012 - 7:09pm

I can be away for up to 4 days at a time (usually only one or two) and then there is NO time for writing. If I am in the office, I'm in front of a 32" monitor with really fast internet and lots of time spent on the phone; hard not to screw around with stories or peek into here. I've had deadlines and burned through my work just so I could edit/revise over (a very liberal) lunch hour. I've been at the same job for almost 11 years and in the same industry for 15, so some days it feels like I could do it in my sleep. And then something blows up...

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. November 21, 2012 - 7:24pm

I'm sort of with Drea - I'd love to say I never cheat and work on a revision or read some WAR stories during work....but I sit at a computer all day long. And lately, my work-life's been quiet - I'd say writing keeps me sane there, sometimes.  

That said, when things pick up and get busy, I am quite focused, and a model employee. I swear. 

And...when my book came work-team got me a cake. So there's that. I like cake.

Ripley's picture
Ripley from Fort Scott, Kansas is reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace November 21, 2012 - 11:45pm

I've been using my break times and lunch to scribble outlines or write short story drafts. I try to write before I go to work because I'm exhausted after unloading trucks all day. At least I'm going heavier into my outling of my book.

newName's picture
newName December 1, 2012 - 5:09pm

Back when I first went to college (in 2005), I kinda...this is so nerdy--I would skip my classes to write. In high school I would pretend to be taking notes, but was actually writing then, too. No wonder I've always gotten shitty grades...hell, I didn't even get any credits for college back then--1 1/2 years and thousands of (not my) money wasted. But I seem to do much better now.

kward's picture
kward from Alberta is reading Off To Be the Wizard December 1, 2012 - 7:12pm

I'm with Gordon on this one. I also have a creatively-taxing job (I write ads), and I'm so busy I have no time to mess around or use any mental real estate for my own writing. I get home at night, and just want to "lay like broccoli" as Vivian Ward would say.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff December 6, 2012 - 6:49pm

I drive a stock picker all day. Fortunately I get to zone out and think of stories to write. Unfortunately I don't get to park it and write those ideas down. Only sometimes. So usually I just hide in the bathroom stall and write while i pretend to drop a duece.