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

Tips For Balancing Digital Marketing And Creative Writing - Eminent SEO

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.

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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26 thoughts on “Writer By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

  1. Jackcanfield

    Valid information thanks for posting. I came to know lots of new things. I think some of my friends want this stuff. It’s totally worth able to share with my friends

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      I’m happy to hear that you and your friends can make use of the strategies I outlined in this blog. Everyone benefits when we share best practices, after all. I hope to see more of your helpful feedback on future posts as I produce more content for my fellow copywriters.

      Reply
  2. Adrienne - Sofia SEO

    It has been so tough for me to be able to designate time for creative writing now that I work solely as a writer. It is truly like taking your favorite hobby and turning it into your job. I appreciate the tips and ideas in this article and will definitely be putting them to use as I want to continue my creative writing alongside my paid writing.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Adrienne,

      It can be a huge struggle to find that satisfying balance and I still haven’t perfected the process. That being said, I’m glad you were able to take away something helpful from my experiences.

      I’d like to continue posting content that supports my fellow copywriters, so please check out our blog again in April for new writing and work life strategies.

      Reply
      1. Adrienne - Sofia SEO

        I’m back! I like to do at least monthly check-ins on my blog reading list. I bookmarked this page and will now go check out your April content!

        Reply
  3. Andre Douglas

    ‘Finding my fortress’ was one thing i was able to do at the very beginning of 2017. i cant tell you how much it has given me a boost. its not much for now, its no Bat cave but its my space. im able to get twice as much done and i think it enables me to focus on other points you make, like obeying my schedule. Really appreciate this post. do you post often?
    Thanks

    -Andre

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Andre,

      Every little bit helps. I recently invested in a pair of quality headphones and that purchase has definitely helped me “find my fortress” no matter where I happen to be working. I appreciate that you pointed out how these strategies support each other. Committing to a change in one area makes it easier to make adjustments in others.

      I like to post at least once a month so please check back for more writing tips.

      Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Linda,

      Sensitivity: it is our gift and our curse! Glad you liked my suggestions. Hope to see more comments from you later in April.

      Reply
  4. Sharmin

    Quite an impressive post! You show here very clearly how to balance digital marketing and creative writing. You mentioned some important tips that I had never considered before. For example, keeping a handy notebook. If I have an idea, I can just write it down quickly before it leaves from my mind. And I totally agree with you, a quiet place and a schedule are essential for doing better work.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Sharmin,

      Thank you for the positive feedback. I’m happy to see my suggestions inspiring my fellow content specialists. We’ve got to do what we can to make our lives as writers a little more manageable. Please keep providing your input in the future.

      Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Camille,

      Thank you for reading this! I’m stoked whenever my posts can provide a little levity or encouragement to my fellow writers.

      Reply
  5. Chris Winters

    I like the idea of leveraging research as you go when it comes to online marketing. It seems like research and past experience could be the best tools to have at your disposal when creating a digital marketing campaign. I feel like it should definitely be catered toward your target audience.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Chris,

      You’ll get no arguments from me on that note. In fact, keep an eye out for my next post which has to do with crafting content for a potentially hostile target audience. Hope you also find a helpful takeaway from that post.

      Reply
  6. Adam P. - Social Giant Marketing

    I liked the tip about finding your fortress. Someplace where you can have peace and quite with your mind. You also mention in a previous comment about getting some headphones. I prefer the noise canceling ones. They help when not playing any music, just close your eyes and it’s just you and your mind. powerful stuff!

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Adam,

      Plus the right headphones let you show off a little style around the office. Glad you found some of these tips helpful. Check back soon for more tips on content writing!

      Reply
  7. Adrienne McGuire

    I didn’t really become successful as a writer until I started setting and abiding by a very strict schedule. When I am able to follow my schedule, I produce much higher quality work and get more of it published.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, Adrienne. I agree, a bit of discipline goes a long way.

      Reply
  8. Alena Sham

    Nice Post. These are some great tips. I’m already following the old way Pen & paper (my favorite.. ) !!

    “Make a daily routine to learn words from dictionary, for adding up a nice collection of words in your article…”

    I really like this point. Great point….!

    Thanks for sharing this great Post.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Alena,

      I still have a soft spot for pen and paper, especially when I’m working on personal projects. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  9. Mandy Hollowell

    You have written such a nice article and show the balance between Digital marketing and creative writing. I have got a lot of information with your article, keep posting, such a nice article. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Mandy,

      Thanks for commenting! I hope you get a chance to check out some of my other articles too.

      Reply
  10. Robyn Petrik

    As a full-time freelance writer and a creative writer, it’s definitely tricky to maintain the balance without going a little crazy! I find that along with obeying the writing schedule that works for me, I also have to obey the signs I get from my body and brain. Some days I just need to take a break from all writing and be okay with it, coming back feeling a little more refreshed and energized.

    Reply
    1. Remy Albillar Post author

      Robyn,

      That’s a great point! I didn’t even get a chance to speak on the physical aspects of burnout and writer’s block. You could probably write a separate post on that topic! Thanks for reading and for giving that feedback. Great food for thought.

      Reply

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