Writing Corner: Writing For Pleasure Vs Writing For Work

Hi everyone! I’m back for another Writing Corner post this month, but never fear, I have guests lined up for the next two months, so that should be really exciting, next month I’m going to have a Q&A from author C.G. Drews (who a lot of you will know as PaperFury), so that’s going to be really brilliant, I hope you guys really enjoy that one, I’ll have it up in the next couple of weeks. Today however, you get another post from me, this time I’m going to be talking about something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and that’s Writing For Pleasure and Writing For Work. As an author, journalist and blogger, my writing is pretty evenly divided between work and pleasure, but the lines can often be quite blurry, which is what I wanted to talk about today.

I love writing obviously, I wouldn’t want to be an author, or be doing or Journalism, or even doing this blog if I didn’t. So naturally, writing brings me pleasure, whether I’m doing it for work or for my own free time. However I definitely approach my writing differently depending on whether I’m doing it for work or for myself.

As much as I enjoy Journalism, I approach it as my job. It’s not something that I’m doing for fun and nothing else, I’m doing my Journalism course at Uni with the aim of getting a job in the field someday. I’ve loved writing my pieces for my Project and I’m very passionate about the topic I’ve chosen (period poverty)  but the ultimate aim of doing this is to get my degree and hopefully get a job in the future, I would not be writing these articles if I didn’t need to for my degree. The same goes for The National Student, I love writing for them, but I approach it as a job, I have deadlines and word counts that I need to adhere to, and it’s a way of gaining more experience before I graduate, writing for The National Student isn’t something I do as a hobby in my downtime, it’s something that I’ve chosen to do to further my career.

My fiction writing is slightly different because it somewhat straddles the two. At the moment, I’m not published, I’m not agented or anything like that, so whatever I write, it is mostly for me and my own pleasure, there’d be no point writing my WIP if I didn’t enjoy it because at the moment it’s largely for me. However this has changed over the last year or so, as I’ve started to get more serious about publishing. I still have fun writing my WIP, nothing has changed there, but the end goal is different, I’m not just working on this book for me, I’m working on it because I want it to be read by people, I want to get an agent and I want to get published. This means that as I’ve been going through the editing process, I’ve been thinking more and more about what other people will want to see from my book, how I can make it the best it can be so that it can eventually make it’s way into readers’ hands. In other words, my WIP has become less of something I do simply in my leisure time and more of a work project, in the same way that my articles are.

When it comes to the different things I write, blogging is definitely my leisure outlet. That isn’t to say that it’s not a lot of work, because it is: I spend a lot of time working on my blog, making sure that it is entertaining to read and that it looks the best that it can. But there’s no sort of work pressure to it, I can update or not update my blog as and when I choose to, any kind of pressure that I put on myself and my blog is purely internal. Blogging is a great thing to have, because unlike journalism or fiction writing, it’s not something that I’m looking to do as a career, it’s just something fun that I like to do to share my love of books.

Blogging also fits into things I do for pleasure already anyway, I love reading, so reading books for the blog is a purely pleasure based thing, it never feels like work and I’ve always loved to share my thoughts on the books I read anyway so having reviewing as an outlet is pretty great for me as I can automatically spill out my thoughts about a book onto the blog when I’m doing reading.

There’s nothing to say that you can’t enjoy your work, in fact, I’m sure that most people would agree that the ideal is to be able to combine both work and pleasure, that’s why people want to go into jobs that fit their areas of interest. However, I do think that it’s important to have an outlet outside of your work so that the thing you enjoy doesn’t constantly feel like you’re doing work. I love writing but often it can feel like a chore when I’m writing articles, or even when I’m working on my WIP because my focus there is very much, “I need to do this because I want to work in this field”.

It’s so important to have boundaries between work and hobbies, especially when you really enjoy what you do. I have found this, because I spend so much time doing what I enjoy for work, often I feel like I don’t actually want to write when I have down time because it’s so often what I’m doing when I’m working. This is why I like to have different outlets for writing that are unrelated to work, because it means that in my downtime, I can remind myself that I really do enjoy writing and do things, like my blog that are just for my own personal enjoyment and don’t really have any kind of work aspect (beyond what I would usually do, reading ARCs doesn’t feel like work to me because it’s reading and that’s my main downtime hobby anyway!). I also feel like it’s incredibly important to have hobbies outside of writing as well, especially if you do it for work as well as pleasure because you can start feeling burned out by it if you’re doing it all the time.

Writing for work and pleasure definitely don’t have to be mutually exclusive, you can do both and do both well but there has to be some sort of separation between your writing for work and writing for pleasure in order for neither to feel like a chore (at least in my experience) & I think downtime away from writing is key to maintaining enjoyment within your work.

If you are a writer, do you find it hard to strike a balance between writing for work and pleasure? Do you ever feel burned out by writing? What do you do in your time away from writing? Let me know in the comments!

As I’ve already said, I’m going to have a Q&A with C.G. Drews as my next post for this feature and that’s going to be up very soon, in about two weeks, to coincide with the release of her new book so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime though, I will have a new Top Ten Tuesday post up on Tuesday, so stay tuned for that!

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