How to be an Author with a Full-time Job

As a signed writer, I wanted to use this post to explain what that lifestyle is like while having a full-time job. I also wanted to shed some light on the publishing world and what I’ve learned so far.

Quick recap → I’m an author signed by Sarah Younger over at the Nancy Yost Literary Agency in NYC. I also lead marketing at Robin, a startup in Boston that makes managing the people, spaces and things in an office super easy.

Working at a startup is very time consuming, and adding a book to the mix and I’m looking at 80-90 hour work weeks. Here are some questions I’m asked most frequently as I navigate through the chaos.

How do you find time to do both?

Plain and simple, my schedule is very regimented. I’ll work from about 8am to 5/530pm each day (each day is different) and then write from 10pm to midnight. The time in between is for the gym, for dinner and things like laundry, dishes, etc. Weekends are heavy writing days, and I’ll spend about six hours in coffee shops and libraries.

Sometimes this can feel like a lot, but especially now as I work on edits for my book, it’s all about consistent weeks of hard work and patience.

How do you separate work writing from book writing?

Writing about the workplace and middle grade fiction are very different, but the mentality is similar: I need coffee, music, and a space to be both creative and efficient.

When I write a blog post or white paper for work, I pull the mechanics from the author side of things, but realize that certain things can be thrown out the window. For example, I don’t have to do character or plot development, or really put in the extra effort to get the reader to visualize or sympathize with something going on in the text.

My work readers are no-nonsense folks. They want to understand industry trends and things to look out for, as well as wanting to know what new features we’re releasing and how they are beneficial to them. Pros, cons, data, examples — you get the gist.

What’s it like to have an agent?

It’s great. Sarah is my biggest supporter and toughest critic. She knows what good writing looks like, and is there to encourage and motivate me every step of the way. I also realize how lucky I am, given that agents only sign a handful of clients each year.

When do I get to read your book?

Soon, I hope. Follow me on Twitter though, because that’s where I share all my updates.

What’s the biggest surprise of working in the publishing world?

I wouldn’t say I’ve been surprised, but the amount of patience it takes to do well is amazing. To give you some context, it took me months to find an agent, but if all goes well, it’ll be twice or three times as long to finish these edits and pitch them to a publisher.

Most people think you can FedEx the writing process once you get an agent, but the months afterwards will be some of the toughest of your life.

Any more questions?

These were just some things I get asked most frequently, but if there’s something you want to ask, Tweet me (@rkmac). I’m happy to shed more light on any aspect of the writing world that I can.

Ryan MacInnis