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Workin' Girl

How To Balance Content Creation With Your Full-Time Job

Between the rise of the creator economy and the gig economy, the window of opportunity to leverage your creativity for long-term gain has never been more potent.

For the last four years, I’ve worked as a full-time freelance writer and content creator. A year into this journey, I knew that if I wanted to create a sense of structure around my life outside of a traditional 9-5, I would have to create it.


To my surprise, that came in the form of social media.

Now, you might be wondering how someone might be able to juggle their work in a creatively-dominant career like writing while still having the mental capacity to produce ideas for their own personal brand, and well, that answer didn’t come easily.

In 2021, I hit a wall with writing and content creation.

With the stress and uncertainty that came as a result of the pandemic, to being burned out from having to live off my creativity, I reached a breaking point. For me, writing was always a space to explore my thoughts, process heavy topics, and express concepts that only words could bring reason to. However, when I didn’t have the brainpower to write or create content, I knew it was time to set parameters around my hobby of content creation and my passion for storytelling.

In this case, the biggest challenge was finding the balance between the two by releasing the guilt and shame of taking a break from both in order to reconnect with them.

Through years of trial and error, the fog finally cleared, and I was able to hit my stride in 2023. From garnering over 10K followers on TikTok, building an Instagram community around lifestyle and creative encouragement, along with my wellness collective, Black Girl Playground, and writing for xoNecole as a lifestyle contributor, the creative juices have been flowing steadily.

And it all happened by creating a strategy that allowed space for planning, resting, and creating. Today, I’ll be sharing my top tips to help you find your balance between your side hustle and passions.

On staying inspired and motivated when working on various content creation and freelancing projects:

Early this year, I came to the bright conclusion that I needed to shorten the gap between ideation and execution — and it completely changed how I create.

Oftentimes, when we have an idea come to us, we let it sit for too long, and then before we know it, we’ve either lost the enthusiasm to put it into action, or someone else grabs it. If you want to stay in a flow of creativity, whether side projects or full-time work, it’s important to not get slowed down by self-doubt, procrastination, or perfectionism.

Give yourself permission to act on your ideas as they come to you. Even if they’re a little muddy or not “perfect,” you can always fine-tune them later.

@yagirlaley

shrinking the gap between [ideation] + [execution] 🧠💡#fyp #creativeadvice

On the importance of choosing a niche: 

If there’s one thing that has helped me balance my work as a writer and content creator, it’s putting each in its own niche (or category). By definition, a niche is a specialized segment of the market or a specific area of expertise.

When you are creating in the same niche that you’re also making a living in, that’s an easy way to get your wires crossed. And at times, this could lead to feeling as if you don’t have any ideas for yourself because you’ve given them to the other area you're juggling.

When balancing two, you want to have enough fresh ideas to give to your personal projects and your full-time work to avoid any overlap. This ensures that your personal creative vision isn’t compromised when working on client projects while still having some for yourself.

On the strategies that have helped to maintain a consistent workflow in both areas: 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to create a workflow and structure for yourself as a freelancer — this applies to those with a 9-5 in the day and a 5-9 at night, too.

As someone who admittedly has ADHD tendencies, object permanence can sometimes create a block in time and project management. That’s why I encourage creatives and professionals to create systems that allow you to see the work that’s ahead of you.

Personally, I can’t live without having multiple calendars going at once. My Google calendar keeps track of interviews for articles and events, while my physical calendar helps me keep track of important dates. I also work out of an Excel sheet where I can log in ongoing stories and track their status from drafting to submission. I’ve also heard great things about the Notion app for planning and tracking.

When it comes to creating content, spending time doing bulk content days has been an asset to my creative workflow. When I complete the videos, I save them to my drafts and upload them as needed.

Credit: Amberita

Courtesy of the writer

On the best advice for someone who is considering pursuing both content creation and freelancing simultaneously: 

Don’t be ashamed of taking a break and resting — because both are essential to the life of a creative. Last month, I returned to Instagram after taking 6 months off from posting. During that time, I worked on growing my TikTok page, using the platform to practice vulnerability and allowing myself to put the fun back into creating content. Without the time, I can’t say I’d be able to approach Instagram with the same ease and playfulness; but thanks to that time away, it was possible.

Resting, letting our minds wander, or simply doing nothing are all just as productive as creating. No one can produce at all times, we have to allow ourselves the space for new concepts and ideas to flow to us. In addition to that, when we take breaks from social media, it allows us to stop the wheel of comparison and consume more than we create. So if you feel like you’re in a creative rut with all you want to balance, it may be time to take a step back, unapologetically.

Your creativity will thank you for it.

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Featured image by Sir Taylor

 

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