A Personal Essay: Will Writing Fatigue Cause A Career Change?

As the year begins anew, I am trying to balance my professional writing with my creative writing. Honestly, after blogging all day for others, or assisting someone through a resume process, I am burnt out and experience writing fatigue. The last thing I want to do is sit at a computer during my free time, attempting to write a short story or revisiting the fragmented pieces of the first draft of my great American novel. I have noticed even this personal blog is suffering from my writing fatigue.

I am contemplating my career choice as a freelance writer. Should I pursue another career? What other avenues will complement my skill set? Let me ponder on the pros and cons. The upside to writing professionally all day is that I am honing my craft. The down side is that I am weary when I carve out time for creative writing. If I pursue another career, will I find personal fulfillment? Would it be something I enjoy? The pro: My free time would be focused on creative writing. The con: I may end up dealing with office politics and drama – which I completely despise. I am somewhat isolated as a freelance writer but being in an office setting, surrounded by others on a daily basis, could be positive and/or negative. As I muddle through this quandary, I will take time (perhaps even several months) to investigate my options and evaluate my skill set.

I worked in marketing for a while. I came to the conclusion that I am a communicator and not necessarily a marketer. I utilize marketing strategies in my professional writing but my strength is communicating this branding verbiage in a clear, concise manner. I have also mastered social media (SMM and SEM), inspired by my tenure in marketing. Another self-realization became apparent as well. I am an authentic person. I present myself as WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get.  It felt counter-intuitive to slip on the fake, false mask that some marketers consider as “professional.” I am not some slick marketing chick. I am the genuine, bona fide version of me. I understand marketing principles but I feel uncomfortable if I am expected to over-market or sell myself.  I cannot adopt the icky-car-salesman facade to woo over a client or damage the reputation of the competitors. This is not who I am nor is it someone I would ever want to be. I never try to bedazzle my clients with boasts or B.S. I just like to keep it simple – interpersonal communication based in truth and reality. 

It is important for me to treat others with the same dignity and respect that I expect in return. It is equally important for me to work for a company or organization which honors this level of ethical conduct. I hate gossiping, judgmental behavior that can undermine a team or sink a company. Some of my best employment situations have been around people who spread good will and cheer, fostering the team atmosphere while acknowledging the contributions of the individual members. I know this seems to be a Walt Whitman/Leaves of Grass philosophy – equally-weighted individuals making the beautiful whole. It is similar to a few employment situations I have experienced in the past and I thrive in this type of environment. I am drawn to possibly working for a non-profit. I saw an amazing LinkedIn update from a connection who works for a non-profit. The thought of using my skills as a communicator to be of service to others is intriguing. Additionally, my efforts would be worthwhile.

Therefore, until I make a choice, I will continue to be a freelance writer by day and creative writer by night. I will be open to opportunities but remain selective of the workplace atmosphere. I am not exactly sure how to combat this writing fatigue. For now, perhaps I should drink coffee – lots and lots of coffee?

Do you write professionally?

Have you encountered a similar problem?

What suggestions do you have to overcome writing fatigue?

4 thoughts on “A Personal Essay: Will Writing Fatigue Cause A Career Change?

  1. I also have a job doing something very close to what I love, and find that I wish I had more extracurricular time for the aspects of it that I’d like to invest in more. Sometimes I, too, consider finding another, unrelated, job so that I could devote more time to my hobby, without being weary of it before I even get started. In fact, I sometimes consider turning to freelance writing! I think that: a) all jobs will wear you out in one way or another (it’s 8-10 hours after all), b) no matter what you *say* you will do with the time that is not formally scheduled, will you actually put more into your writing than you do now (only so many hours in a day)? c) there is the same chances of drama or harmony at any job – it is part corporate culture, part stress level, and a very big part the individuals who work there.

    If you have writing fatigue, do you ever go for a jog,a swim, or whatever your favorite workout is? Planning in some exercise and fresh air between your work time and play time might help to refresh you. So might just taking some time off, a few weeks or so, from your creative writing, until you are super-eager to get back to it. Maybe some “brain food” – healthy, vitamin-rich, energizing (don’t ask me what I’m no nutritionist). Just some thoughts…

    • AJ, I realize now that I may have come across as a big ol’ whiner! After reading your comment, I thought about why I was feeling so overwhelmed as well as saddened by the lack of time I have put into my creative writing recently. I do believe that there is an aspect to writing fatigue when you have to ‘create’ content throughout the day for clients on topics that may not necessarily interest you. The upside is there is a freedom in freelancing. I can turn down work as needed. I shy away from prospective clients who try to financially ‘squeeze’ a proposal. I will gladly help out a friend for free or offer pro bono work to a charitable organization. I have been taken advantage of by former employers and clients who have the expectation that I will practically give away my time and talents. I have learned to no longer accept this type of expectation. When I encounter these types of situations, it seems to throw me into this contemplative mood and I evaluate my career choice. Dealing with these types of people can be unpleasant. As an emotional, creative type of person, it takes some time to process through a tough negotiation.

      Plus, it is tax time. My husband and I begin tax preparation early because we have children in college. The earlier we file, the more quickly they can apply for FAFSA. I am sure that all this additional paperwork has put the ‘over-drive’ into the overwhelmed feeling. It just seems like the past few months flew by during the holidays and I apparently struggled with time management. You are indeed correct. Any job would take 8-10 hours of my day. My creative writing is a hobby for now. Someday, though, I hope it can become my career. I will continue to submit for publication and realize that writing can be equally joyous and yet painful at the same time. I am just compelled to write.

      • No worries! I didn’t think you were whining. I started thinking a few weeks ago about whether I wanted to continue writing my little blog, and then last week a job opportunity came up that has me making career decisions – including whether or not I’m in the right one! So your musings reminded me of my own and I just thought I’d share the few thoughts I’ve managed to come up with! Extra brain power never hurts 😉

      • Agreed! Well, I hope you will continue to blog. Communicating with others about the human condition is not only thought-provoking but also inspiring! Our communication thread has reminded me to re-read sections of “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. I do the morning pages but she also suggests a nice, long walk. I need to get a’moving and shake up my schedule a bit.

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