This article may not be useful to everyone, but for writers who write business copy, press releases, and Internet articles day after day while still harboring life long dreams of writing that special book, then the title probably hits a chord.
While I love making a living writing, and can not imagine enjoying any other type of a job more, it can be frustrating for me after a long week of writing articles to find the time to sit down and write short stories, creative non -fiction, and novels that are just bursting to get out of me. At the very least it's annoying. At the worst, if I go a week without any serious writing, I feel like I'm dying inside, and for me depression can often follow.
Establishing yourself as a freelance writer means a lot of overbooked weeks early. Sixty and eighty hour weeks are not out of the question, and when you're writing (even if it is a different kind of writing than creative writing) it can be mentally exhausting, and the thought of re-working that novel or short story is not very appealing. Sometimes when trying to force it, that blank page just mocks you.
Finding a balance between the commercial writing and creative writing can be very difficult, but for many people it's necessary. Here are some tips that I've found helped me when I was having a hard time.
1) Do not write creatively and commercially in the same place. This is a big one for me. If you have a laptop this can be as easy as moving from one part of the apartment to another. If you have a desktop this is not so easy, but having one desk or set up for work and a different setting for creative writing has helped me excel more at both.
2) Write creatively in the morning. If the creative writing is what you really treasure, then get a couple pages done early in the morning. This can make you happy by working on your own stuff, and get your mind in a relaxed writing mood for the rest of the commercial writing that has to be done.
3) Daily unbreakable goals. I've never been a "list of goals" or "write down where you want to be" kind of person at all, but a little older and a lot busier and I find this is the best way to keep me writing. One day off always leads to more, but if I have a small goal, even if it's just one page or five hundred words, that's at least something. Give it a try.
4) When was your last vacation? If you have not taken one day off commercial writing in months and months, choose a day that's just for you. Go to a coffee shop, enjoy a hike. Take a small notepad and pen for ideas, but do not force it. Write a letter. Do something. Even one day off can make a huge difference.
5) Do not despair. Rejection is part of the game. The best writers are not the ones who get published. The most stubborn ones are.
I hope these tips help you to make time for your own writing, as well as the commercial freelance jobs.