Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Juggling "real" writing and content writing

Content writing isn't real journalism. I don't care what anyone says: Content writing is pretty much the a weekly shopper while real journalism is the New York Times.

That being said, I have no problem contributing to that shopper. Content writing is making me some nice side money, especially during these trying economic times when print publications are struggling mightily.

But it's not work I'm proud of.

Now I'm facing a different sort of problem with content writing. I've gotten so many assignments from small publishers -- nickel-and-dime stuff that I don't want to turn down in this economy -- that I'm struggling to get my "real" journalism done.

For this month, this "real" writing includes a story for the jobs section of a major newspaper, a story for a medical trade magazine and two stories for an environmental publisher. These stories take real effort and thought: I have to interview people. I have to research facts and studies.

Of course, they pay well, too.

It's hard to get this work done, though, when I'm spending my daytime hours pounding out 15 short posts on visiting New York City or playing Bakugan. (Yes, Bakugan. I'm a grown man writing about Bakugan. Sigh.)

How do you juggle all your writing assignments? How do you make the time when you also want to spend time with your family? Does the arrival of summer vacation -- which started here yesterday -- through off your routine?

Let me know your thoughts.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. For me, it all comes down to sticking with a schedule. I am a sucker for getting sidetracked and spending way too much time on one project and hardly any on another. I plot out my day in 1/2 hour increments and try to stick to it. When the day is done, I turn off the computer and spend time with family.

    That being said, the arrival of summer is definitely affecting my routine. With vacation looming near, I have to re-evaluate what my priorities are in order to get writing done.

  2. Hi, Rachel:

    Thanks for your message. Summer is definitely a tough time. Like most people, I'd rather play catch in the backyard with my kids than write. At the same time, this summer my wife is going to graduate school, so schedules are a bit in flux right now.

    Of course, by the end of the summer, we'll all be in a good schedule, and then it'll be time for back to school.


  3. Balance has been an ongoing issue for me and I have yet to find the sweet spot. There are times when I'm enraptured by the process and 5 hours fly by, which is great for me, but not so much for my patiently waiting wife. There are other times where I’m banging my head against the wall, trying to shake the words out, eating up several hours in frustration. If only I could get inspiration on tap, I could better define my hours.