By Melissa N. Smith
Have you felt tension between the creative process and the business side of writing? The ideas are flowing for an article you are writing, but the editor side of your brain keeps interjecting their critical voice. When writing content for social media, you get lost in how to schedule it for different channels. Scheduling writing time is not the problem, but knowing what to write keeps you from making progress. Sound familiar?
As a writing coach, I help my clients discern between the boss (business) and the writer (creative) roles. The boss engages in editing, scheduling, setting goals, and creating structure.
The writer gets the privilege of showing up and doing the creative work – brainstorming, writing drafts, and creating content. We get frustrated and blocked in our writing when the two roles are not clear or are not working well together.
Earlier in the year as the boss, I had set a writing goal based on last year’s vision. I scheduled time to write and chose the topics for that month. However, when I showed up as the writer to work, I was frustrated and resistant to the assignments. I wanted to write and I had clear goals, but I encountered a blockage. Did I have writer’s block?
As the writer, you have a say in what your boss decides. More importantly, you have a co-collaborator–God. It took prayer and an honest assessment to get my priorities focused in the right direction. I set aside my computer and schedule for a week to seek God, evaluate my writing goals, and determine the next step.
Through this process, I learned that the boss side of my brain was setting the right goals. At the beginning of the year, I rebranded my website. Two main priorities emerged: writing regularly on the new website and creating content for my clients. However, the writer had changed creative direction; I had a new audience that my old topics did not serve. I was trying to shoehorn an old vision into new goals. The topics and drafts I had assigned to myself no longer fit the vision God had cast for my work. He guided me to write from a fresh perspective on new topics.
This insight unleashed a flood of topics on which I was motivated to write. Keeping the schedule my boss created no longer presented a problem. I didn’t have writer’s block.
I had a blind-spot to the ways God had grown me as a writer. When I set aside the old drafts and plans, fresh ideas and messages flowed easily. When I scheduled time to write, I showed up to do the work eagerly.
If you are struggling, here are several examples of how to problem-solve issues between the boss and the writer side of your creative life.
- The project is too big for the allotted time.
The writer is overwhelmed! In this case, you need to break down the project into smaller, more attainable tasks. When you can make progress, discouragement diminishes.
- You find yourself bored and resistant to the current project.
Your creative side needs a boost! Schedule time for an artist’s date or a brainstorming session with a friend. It may be time to set aside the current project to allow fresh ideas to bloom.
- The schedule is full of busy work, not intentional progress.
We can lose sight of our vision and the “why” behind our work. It is easy to schedule tasks and get work done. It is harder to discern which tasks need our time. Allow the boss to take a break from scheduling work and take some time to reflect on your creative direction.
- A lack of structure leads to distraction and procrastination.
The ideas may be flowing, but you don’t feel like you are really making any progress. You easily divert to research, editing, housework, and reading a book you never finished. It’s time to set goals that fit your work: timers, word count, project deadlines, or theme day assignments.
Which aspect of your writing life needs attention–the business or the creative side? As you make adjustments, celebrate progress, and continue to steward the message. Your words count!
Melissa is living out her everyday adventures in the suburbs of Texas. She loves three things: God, beauty, and words. When she is not sipping sweet tea with friends or homeschooling her youngest, Melissa coaches writers and creatives as they steward their message in the messy soil of daily life. Website: https://www.framedinjoy.com/Insta: https://www.instagram.com/framedinjoy/