How to Continue Writing Creatively When You Write for a Living


Besides my novel-ish aspirations, I actually write for my supper: I am a copywriter. Is it weird that this feels like a confession?

Writing for a living can sound, for some, like the dream – I often work in my pajamas, I write about lots of interesting things, and I have a lot of control over my hours. On the downside, it’s easy to get distracted when you have no supervision, there is very little division between my work and home life, and my creative writing projects are particularly difficult to get to sometimes.

If I spend the day staring at words on my computer screen, often the last thing I want to do is spend more time hunched over my keyboard. Since I’m assuming that I’m hardly the only person with this problem, I’m going to share a couple of tips that I’ve picked up to get into the creative groove while also attempting to live nearby all day.

Work on your own writing projects first thing in the morning.

Wake up, make yourself a coffee, and dive into your own projects. Half an hour is enough to build a project day by day – and I find that when my brain is blissfully empty (as it typically is in the morning) it’s a lot easier to forget client work and focus on my own writing.

Divide the time between working and creative writing with something completely different.

If you’re going to write all day and then work on your own project in the evening, take some time to create a symbolic and literal divide between the projects. Go for a walk, make dinner, hang out with a friend… just do something that gets your mind off of work and onto more fun things (like more writing).Drink lots (and lots) of water.

Drink lots (and lots) of water.

Dehydration impairs brain function, and even mild dehydration makes it hard to think. You’ll never get your characters out of their fixes if you live on coffee, so keep a bottle of water on your workspace and make sure you drink a minimum of 2 litres of water per day. Remember, caffeinated and sugary beverages don’t count, so stick to water and herbal tea when you’re trying to get hydrated.

Schedule time for your own projects alongside those of clients.

If you’re serious about getting your own writing projects done, schedule time for them the same way you budget time for client projects. If it works with your schedule, try to budget specific hours of the day when you know you will have the sustained focus to get a chunk of work done.

Work on your own projects in a different format than your client projects.

if you work on your laptop for clients, try working on paper for yourself. If you typically work on a desktop for clients, try working in a different space (like a nearby coffee shop) on your laptop for your own projects. The more you can divide the two, the less your day-writing job will interfere with your personal-writing job.

What do you think? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments!


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