Shifting your writing from one type to another

Friday, October 02, 2009
When do you decide to shift your focus? When and how do you determine that this week you should focus on your fiction or your nonfiction or your paying work? And once you have decided it, how do you make it all work? Do you ever steal away for a day-long writing retreat?
As a freelancer, I've found it is sometimes tricky to shift from the paying work to the non-paying work. I'd like to write more of my own fiction, but I also work for a client that pays me per piece I complete. It certainly helped to get through this year during slower times, but it is a blessing and a curse. If I didn't have any work, I could engage my fiction muscle more; without the work, I would have to focus on getting a job to help pay for my fiction "hobby" and the kids' clothes.
But do you ever say, "I've had enough of the treadmill of someone else's writing, I need to get back to my own." Or do you just start building bits and pieces of time into your day that satisfies your own needs?
This weekend will start a new experiment for me and my family. I will get off the treadmill momentarily.
Because my fiction time seems to fall victim to sick kids or juggling family needs, I asked my husband for time to write for a project I've been fleshing out for a few months.
I will leave early Saturday morning, stealing away to an quiet corner...away from an Internet an undisclosed (to my kids) location, for a chunk of writing time. While I'm excited, I'm also worried I won't know what to do in the silence. I'm not sure we can afford to do this every Saturday, but I am certainly excited we are going to start trying to do it more regularly.
I need the time and space to work on my projects. What would you need to get off the treadmill? And, if you already have figured it out, what has worked for you?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and freelance writer. She also blogs at and, delving into creativity in everyday places. She'll let you know how the writing project is going next time...after her luxurious day-long writing retreat.


Anonymous said...

This topic struck a perfect target for me today as I have spent the past week waiting for work from "my client" which I was told was "about to be posted". Meanwhile, my "own stuff" hasn't been touched.
I think there are two main issues most of us play with, especially writers or other artists. The first is security; it is difficult to concentrate on what we term pleasurable, playful, and selfish when there are other responsibilities to meet.
The second is our programming which tells us that anything we want to do which does not immediately benefit others should always be last on the list. "We" come last. Self-satisfaction comes last.
I think if we can train ourselves to see the writing we do for pleasure, and hopefully future publication and pay, to be just as important as our client's projects and family's needs we will find a new way to schedule the time. For instance, instead of putting it last and continually moving it to the end of that ever growing list, perhaps we could schedule that last "work hour" of each day for our own projects.

Analisa said...

I am very very new to writing and have not found that balance yet. I do know for me I need to work on my own piece everyday...but I don't. As the days roll by as I pursue articles for pay I find I have to reconnect by reading what I have written. I can't just go to the last page and just type like before. That is my concern. I often think of just going back to full time work and just doing my WIP in the evenings and weekends. That didn't work for me before. My work meant I was in front of a computer all day. I was the last thing I wanted to do when I came home. I was worn out and drained, without a creative bone in my body. Sadly finances may make this choice for me. Until then I will try my best to get both things done. If I had a choice I would never write articles, I prefer short stories and novels.

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