Writer By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

by Lindsay 6/9/2017 11:16:00 PM

CONTRIBUTED BY: EMINENT SEO, REMY ALBILLAR

 

During my undergraduate years at the University of Arizona, my writing professors constantly warned me and my classmates about the risk of writing as a day job.

 

They cautioned us against living a double life as a writer. They told us to stay wary of burnout and losing our way as artists, suggesting that this was a very real possibility if we planned to make our living on SEO and marketing content.

 

I was an insufferable suck-up in class, so I nodded vigorously in response to these ominous predictions. Internally, however, my gut response to these warnings was akin to the infamous shrug emoji.

 

I was even less interested in hearing this advice during graduate school, when I was living the double life in full swing. It was hard to nod as vigorously as I did during my undergraduate days: I was already balancing a full-time job producing marketing content during the day with attending class and drafting my memoir thesis in the evening.

 

Today, as a full-time marketing copywriter and content strategist, I am still tasked with finding the right balance between my life as a marketing content professional and my goals as a creative academic. Is it easy? Certainly not! Is it impossible? My answer is an equally vigorous: No way!

 

That being said, I can now see that the bleak scenarios described by my writing professors actually helped to shape the very strategies I now use to stay sane and productive. The following tips and strategies are meant to help those content writers who struggle to balance their daily copywriting duties with their passion projects.

 

1. Use Your Downtime

 

A common mistake that writers make when balancing a double life is trying to separate creative and content writing into separate mental silos. Anyone who attempts these mental gymnastics for long will find that the effort is worthy of Sisyphus.

 

That’s because we as writers only have so much control over the creative process. Ideas will come and go with no regard for your convenience. As a result, it’s important to make use of downtime at the office effectively when your creative brain flips on and starts generating good ideas.

 

Consider keeping a notebook handy during your work day. If you have an idea, jot it down quickly before it leaves your mind and then get back to work. Likewise, make use of your breaks and lunch time to review your notebook of drafts, edit a paragraph or simply brainstorm about your next creative project.

 

Every bit of creative writing you can sneak into your day goes a long way toward your achieving your goals, whether they revolve around publishing or expanding your audience as a blogger. You might even enjoy your work hours a bit more when you allow your creative brain to churn out creative thoughts throughout the day.

 

2. Flex Your Skills

 

As a writer, it’s very easy to see the SEO- and link-focused nature of website marketing content as a restraint on your creative process. I felt this way for years. By the time I was in graduate school, however, my horizons had expanded and I’d come to appreciate the idea of creative restraints.

 

Consider forms in poetry. The Elizabethan sonnet, with its strict rules concerning meter and rhyme, is a great example. Forms do constrain the writer’s choices but also encourages them to think outside of their own tried and true artistic strategies.

 

What if you thought about SEO keyword and header requirements the same way you might think about a writing prompt or a formal assignment? Imposing limitations on the creative process not only produces results in your own writing, but can also help encourage you to exceed expectations at the office by producing some truly sublime marketing content.

 

You also present yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. Take it from my experience: A little boost to your paycheck will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about your double life as a writer.

 

3. Leverage Your Research

 

The longer you’ve been a writer, the more likely you are to take your inspiration from unlikely sources. Openness to the unexpected muse is a critical skill for those balancing a content marketing job with craft development in their free time.

 

In order to generate a steady stream of high-level marketing content for the web, one must become a very effective researcher. Most writers have experience doing research from their academic days, but deadlines and large workloads force content producers to become even more efficient at scouring the web for information.

 

If you find yourself short on ideas when you sit down to write at home, try expanding your research process at the office. As you scan the web for data and sources, make sure to scan your results for interesting, newsworthy or inspiring stories. Bookmark these links, then browse them in greater detail after your work day has ended. Fitting in a bit of creative research into your daily workflow will also take pressure off of yourself to put in that time when you get home.

 

4. Find Your Fortress


Batman has his Bat Cave. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Just as a superhero needs a secluded headquarters to retreat to, a writer needs a place to think, reflect and appreciate the quiet.

 

Considering how much time you’ll spend writing for work, it’s more important than ever to stay productive during your free time. Otherwise, you risk falling into the uninspired rut my writing professors warned about. With this in mind, find a place where you can disconnect from the world, including the work assignments waiting on your desk for the next morning.

 

After moving back home to Phoenix, Arizona, I selected my old local library as my personal bastion of productivity. Free access to high-speed WiFi, limited noise pollution and a very low chance of bumping into anybody I knew from high school made my local branch an ideal spot to spend a few hours each day reading and writing.

 

5. Obey Your Schedule

 

Another piece of advice I heard constantly from my writing professors, especially at the graduate level, was the importance of having a schedule as a writer. No pithy rejoinders here. They were absolutely correct.

 

This maxim goes double for writers that balance a double life. The importance of meeting deadlines at work is a given for most, but few commit the same focus to the writing they do for themselves. Unfortunately, those who fail to work on their craft consistently are at the greatest risk for letting their work writing consume their lives.

 

I’m sorry to say that there aren’t any easy strategies for becoming a disciplined writer. It’s something we all have to work on every day. Thankfully, applying some of the other strategies I mentioned above can make this challenge a bit less daunting.

 

Start by assigning yourself some deadlines. Identify a few hours each day that can be dedicated to writing, whether they be early in the morning or after you get home from work. Do everything in your power to obey your schedule.

 

You probably won’t get it right all at once, but that’s OK. Just setting a schedule and paying closer attention to how you choose to spend your time (when you should be writing) are major steps in the right direction.

 

6. Honor Your Process


It’s easy to get discouraged as a writer. After all, we can be pretty sensitive. That’s why it’s important for you to make a habit of carrying your projects to completion. Denying yourself the internal encouragement that comes with finishing a poem or prose piece just makes it harder to stay motivated as a creative writer.

 

On the other hand, beating yourself up over how long it’s taken to finish a novel in your spare time is not an effective strategy. Your creative process is unpredictable, and it’s not typical for your free time and your feelings of inspiration to line up consistently. This is especially true when you are tasked with a full workload of blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns and content pages during the day.

 

Just as the style and voice of your work are unique, so too are the strategies you’ll employ to balance a double life as a marketing content professional and a creative writer. As long as you are able to secure a quiet place to work, set a reasonable schedule and stay disciplined, the specifics are up to you.

 

In short, the double life is one worth living. Just figure out what works for you, stick to it and keep your pen on the pad.

 

CONTRIBUTED BY:

 

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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What Harry Potter Has Taught Me about Writing

by Lindsay 4/2/2017 9:14:00 PM

 

*** GUEST POST BEN RUSSEL

 

The purpose of articulating this article is to describe various lessons I have learned from Harry Potter's writing. Harry Potter is a boy and the main character in the writing of J.K Rowling. The contents of the Rowling's books are very educative specifically in writing. Harry Potter's primary purpose of writing fan fictional books is to exploit the human desires that keep evolving since the ancient times especially in the world of magic. There are some social dynamics found in a modern society that Rowling exposes that began more than 200 years ago such as racism, religion, civil wars, social activism and education. The popularity of these books has been growing dynamically since the first publication. More importantly, I would like to discuss the value impact of the Rowling's books on my writing skills. Her writing work obsesses not only the kids but also adults.


Creative Plotting

The first thing I have learned from Harry Potter concerning writing is the plot. In her novel, Rowling's plot allows the reader to connect one action to another through the main character.  Plotting is the most important instrument that demonstrates the ideologies in the writer's mind. In this aspect, I have learned that before putting down the writing it is important to think critically and generate ideas that will effectively give the writing direction. The first idea of writing came to her mind when she was riding on a train. Before Rowling wrote anything, she thought keenly about the idea to get the right picture on the writing. Therefore, before writing anything, it is important to think about the structure and relevant concepts that the script requires. Apparently, it is important to put down the idea on time to avoid forgetting. In other words, I should not be quick to write anything on paper before formulating the structure. The plot of Rowling's books follows her idea of fantasy, the idea that connects real world to the fantasy world.


Write When Sober-Mind

Writing when sober and in the right mind is a major factor. I have learned from Harry Potter's literature that, she used to write in serious mood; Rowling used to write during her leisure time and relaxed in a favorable environment, mostly in cafes and at night in her room. Environmental and personal destructions interfere with creativity. Writing with sober mind promotes creativity, generation of new ideologies. Additionally, it is important to write when you are full of mental energy to allow the flow of ideas from different psychological perspectives. In this aspect, tiredness of extortion limits the writer from thinking reasonably. Rowling’s writing demonstrates how she took her time before articulating a single idea. The first book of Harry Potter illuminates mystery of sober mind thinking by constructing every idea crossing her mind. The characters in the book are well placed and active at every point of an idea. Rowling exposes every theme in her writing constructively, especially the idea of magic where she allocates each character a task. This fantastic element in her writing is a reflection of how Rowling took her time soberly before jumping into writing.


Be Persistence and Patient

Another important lesson I have to learn from Harry Potter’s book is to be persistent when writing. Rowling took more than 15 years before publishing her first book, Harry Porter and Deathly Hallows. The quality of the literature as a writer is the end product of persistence writing. It is important to be patient enough and persistent to learn new things without giving up. Harry Potter literature came into public in the early 1990s when she had already exploited all the ideas she had on her writing. In comparison to modern writers who take even less than three months to publish a book, Rowling took her time well, even the time she had thought she was through she gave her writing time to mature. JK's masterful job came to be due to her persistence by planting meaningful information that took time to publish. When the writer takes time, paperwork translates to quality as well as social acceptability. The underpinning factor of delayed publication is that when drafting the ideas new is new generation emerges and critics that oppose the writing. For instance, Rowling's books basis on 1980s socio-cultural, which is very different from the generation purchasing the book. Therefore, it is important to project the possibilities of the future as long as persistence aligns with emerging generation’s social practices.


Be Creative

Creativity is another important element that I have learned from Harry Potter’s writing. A writer should not engage paperwork for the sake of writing. Creativity is the most important instrument that determines the impact of the book on the audience. Apart from being creative, it is important to be unique in the writings, not copy pasting what other writers have said before. Moreover, creativity is an escalating tool that supports the authors to generate more ideas and enlarge their perspectives and dimensions in the writings. From this point of view, it is important for the writer to use the dichotomy of thinking by classifying ideologies from different perspectives such as economic, political, social and religious. For instance, Rowling's book integrates all aspects of human life revolving around Harry Potter. However, creativity takes time to mature. Before Rowling became a famous writer, she had undergone a series of challenges in writing; as a single mother, she was facing publication challenges due to financial constraints. The fact is that she did not replicate her writings and remained creative though it took time after her first publication.


Write What You Love

I have also learned from Harry Potter's writing that literature involves writing what you desire and love. In this aspect, writing what you love allows an individual to exploit the intrinsic abilities and talents. Rowling wrote what she describes as her long-term dream; she started paperwork while she was only six. The current publication is a reflection of her young age potential that she has maximally exploited. Therefore, it is important to enjoy and love the writings for they allow an individual to grow in the field of writing. Despite facing massive critiques, Rowling remained focused on her books for she enjoyed what she was writing. Additionally, writing what you love gives an individual independence by focusing on personal abilities rather than external dynamics. Finally, Rowling's literature has taught me how to formulate writing strategies without missing a single idea. Writing is not just taking paper and putting down words, but like any other fields, it requires procedures, which are practical and realistic. Failure to have a plan when writing leads to confusion and complicated paperwork that might not be apparent to the targeted audiences.


Author bio: Ben Russel is passionate about reading and writing and is a big fan of Harry Potter. He’s also into academic writing and has published a series of guides for students. One of his recent publications is on how to write a synthesis essay outline. Ben believes in the importance of helping young generation learn to love reading.

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