How To Write A Book When You Have A Job (& A Life)

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
There's a bizarre misconception that most writers just take off work for a year, shack up in a garret with a notebook, and click-clack away at their opus. Some of those writers exist. Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert's skybrary? Oh, you don't know what a skybrary is? That's because it's a magical, almost-mythical room that could only exist in the home of a megawatt bestseller like Gilbert. But I guarantee she didn't write her first bestseller in a damn skybrary — and you probably won't write yours in one, either.

I recently finished my own first book, and at the risk of sounding trope-y: If I can do this, anyone can — or, at least, a lot of people can. My life is neither leisurely nor fraught with immediate crisis. I don't have children, but I do have a high-pressure, extremely full-time job (like a lot of people do). I did write my book during an exceptionally trying year of my life, both personally and professionally, but those issues are not unique to me.

If you're up to the challenge, here are some of the most important lessons I learned along the way: how to carve out time, how to manage your personal and professional life, and what to do when you're stuck (and at some point, you will be). But the point is, I wanted to write a book, and so I found a way to do it. I'm pretty sure you can, too — with or without a skybrary.