Whether your craft is writing, drawing, or crocheting, nothing beats creative time.
For the past several months, I have been swamped with ghostwriting clients, editing clients, and other projects. So much so that this blog is not the only thing that's been neglected — my own writing and novels have sat on the backburner as well.
The result? Burnout. And on top of it, I'm not any closer to my goals than I was before. I'm working endless hours, getting to the end of the month, and then finding out that I am no closer to getting my own novel published than I was three months ago.
Google's got the right idea with their 20% rule. You know the one — the one that mandates all Google employees must spend 20% of their time doing something they're passionate about. A side project or hobby that gives them a break from the grind.
My guess is, the grind probably doesn't feel like so grindy after 1.6 hours of working on something you're passionate about.
The grind probably doesn't feel like so grindy after 1.6 hours of working on something you're passionate about.
Google's on to something there.
- Provides balance to my life. Actually, to be more accurate, it forces me to accept balance in my life. Because there is no “as soon as I finish this up” or “once I meet this deadline.” I've found that I never take the time to do the activities that will provide balance in my life unless I stop and take the time.
- Allows me time to put things in order. I don't know how things work with your jobs, but for me everything comes at me all at once. I'll have an empty calendar and then before I can breathe I will have 4 new clients sending me projects, and before I can get them set up on my calendar I will have 3 old clients contact me for new work. My calendar becomes a chaotic mess before I can even count how many projects I'm trying to work on. Taking a break lets me fix this.
- Gives me back my control. This goes hand in hand with allowing me to put things back in order. As a ghostwriter, I don't have a lot of control over the story or what happens in the story — only how it's told. As an editor, I have even less control. But taking time to do my own thing inbetween these clients allows me the space to control what I can: my attitude, my projects, my writing, and my schedule.
- Gives me an emotional outlet. I can't count how many times I have wanted to scream at the projects in front of me. Either because my ghostwriting clients have instructed me to do something that will ruin the story or because my editing clients gave me the worst story ever told…. I feel like I am constantly rolling my eyes and rubbing my temples. Of course, these issues always work out. Clients are not monsters and they know you want the story to be its absolute best. But in the mean time, when I need to yell at someone or want to hit someone — my writing is usually the best place to allow that to happen. It's therapeutic.
- Helps me clear up my thoughts. Part of the chaos of work is problem solving. And part of problem solving requires a clear head. Unfortunately, when I'm in the midst of the chaos, I can't always clear up my thoughts about one particular project. Breaking to work on something not client-related helps me clear my mind and come up with a solution that works.