I am a guy whose passion has always been fiction writing but in college I decided to go into software engineering because my parents were in a bind and they needed help financially. Now I am decent engineer but I have always been a better writer. My parents are taken care of and I have a family of my own. I have an idea for a novel that I always wanted to write.

Problem is between a demanding job on the weekdays and a demanding 4 year old daughter on the weekends, it is hard to find the time to write (or even the time to read to improve my writing).

Over the past 6 months I have written about 25k words, but even while writing that I often felt rushed and when I reviewed my work I keep finding ways to improve it (if only I had the time). Most weeks I can only squeeze in 2-3 hours for my book.

So my question is given that I can't quit my job or neglect my daughter, should someone in my situation continue on this journey of writing this novel or put it of for later.

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • 2
    I have a day job and a contract to fulfill, two children (4 and 6), and an old farmhouse that needs a woodstove installed, a wall built, and wood laid in before winter. I'm doing NaNoWriMo right now. It doesn't seem like much time, but if you love it, keep doing it, even if it's only fifteen minutes a day before you collapse in a heap. Also, write it all first, then review it; keeps you from getting stuck.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 18:18
  • 4
    I think this one will be difficult to answer meaningfully. "Should I do something important to me when I have very little time and energy for it?" -- well, depends what you want out of it, what you're getting out of it, and what you're capable of putting into it.
    – Standback
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 21:54
  • 1
    @Standback - Agreed, this seems more like a forum discussion question than something answerable. Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 0:41
  • Can't answer, so a series of comments: I'm a full time working single parent, so my free time is limited. I want to do sports regularly, but find it unfair to go off jogging when my son is waiting for me to come home and spend time with him, and I don't want to run at night when he is asleep, because then I'll be aroused and unable to sleep until far past midnight. So what to do? I'm not an early riser, nevertheless I decided to get up at five each morning, run for an hour, and then do my regular day. [contd.]
    – user5645
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 7:30
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    [contd.] Sit down at 10 p.m. each night and write for an hour or two. If you are a morning person, get up one or two hours earlier and sit down in your pyjama and write, before the demands of the day call you from your desk. If you are neither a morning nor evening person, throw a dime to decide. Whatever you do, you need a regular time into which other demands cannot encroach because the writing time is outside the reach of your life's demands. Only then will you be able to make significant progress. Good luck.
    – user5645
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 7:32

3 Answers 3



I didn't even have to read your question (but I did). The answer is yes.

Write 25K words in half a year. That's perfectly respectable. I work full-time, and often 2-3 hours a week is optimistic for me. Maybe you'll crawl along, maybe you won't be fully satisfied with your work. Hell, maybe you'll end up tossing everything you've written before your daughter turned [arbitrary age of independence].

It doesn't matter. You still write. As long as you keep writing, you're making progress. It might be frustratingly slow, but that's because writing is hard.

Community-wise, we don't like very short answers. They seem curt and unhelpful. I wrote out a full answer, but at the end of the day, the one-word answer is the one you're gonna get: yes, write.

  • Thanks Lea, your answer gives me hope. I will keep going then.
    – AbuMariam
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 4:13

Probably, the real answer is as simple (complicated?) as Charles Bukowski's, So You Wanna Be A Writer


Here's an excerpt:

So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.

Mercy, yes. If the story is burning to be told, yes. If you enjoy the craft of writing, yes. If you love reading over what you've written, yes. If you like the world you've created and the people you've put in it, yes.

"Later" you'll still have a job and your daughter will be demanding in a different way and life will always, always suck up your available time like chaos and goldfish. There will never be a perfect "later" when you can sit down and just work on this. So do it now. And do it later. And do it in little bits all in between.

Yes, yes, yes. Write your novel.

  • 2
    The first productivity rule I learned was that "later" is a time that never happens.
    – lea
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 7:06

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