I love telling people I’m a professional writer.
“Yes,” I tell them, “I’m paid to do what I love.”
Working as a creative is liberating. We’re paid to come up with ideas, write blog posts, and connect with an audience. We’re the “go-to girls” in our offices when someone needs writing advice or career help related to connecting passion with their day job. When we’re not in the office, we’re writing on our couches.
But what should we do when we work for people who don’t “get” us? They want us to succeed and constantly tell us to “create great content,” but aren’t creative themselves. If “great content” whacked them in the face, would they even know it hit them?
It can be lonely working as the only content marketer in a company or as a freelancer without a home base. In this post, I’ll share some advice on how to stay motivated when working alone.
If your manager or client doesn’t “get” you, it’s not the end of the world. People come to organizations with different backgrounds, values, and goals. You may be managed by a PR person who has her sights set on perfecting press releases, even though you were brought on board to create new eBooks and other marketing assets. This disparity can be frustrating, but it’s ultimately good for the company.
If you can’t find people who truly understand you in your organization, it can be lonely. How can you get the career help you need? I recommend joining meetups and groups for creative professionals, and reaching out to friends who shared the same major in college. Your friends can offer constructive feedback to your work and give you advice on how to negotiate with a difficult boss. Here are some examples of ways you can connect with fellow content marketers and producers:
Boston Content (Boston, MA)
San Francisco Creative Freelancer Guild (San Francisco, CA)
Freelance Writers Meetup (New York, NY)
LinkedIn content writer and freelancer groups
Content marketing and writing conferences
Take it from someone who has trouble prioritizing—if you can’t budget your time well, life’s going to suck.
There’s a reason sports teams are more likely to win when they’re playing at home: They’re getting cheered on by their biggest fans. But for many of us, there’s no one cheering us from the bleachers. That doesn’t mean we’re going to lose every time we play away though, right?
Healthy time management can help you prioritize and, in turn, improve your overall motivation. Here are some of my recommendations:
Designate “project hours” for time-sucking activities: For example, I spend the last hour of each workday writing for or editing our company blog to avoid becoming distracted throughout the day with the smaller task of blogging.
Whittle down your projects to two or three at a time: It’s hard to be productive when you have 10 items on your to-do list. Try to focus on two or three projects at a time so you can devote your attention to powering through.
Your leadership might not understand the ins and outs of the world of content, but they’re still rooting for your success. They want your work to positively impact the bottom line, and they’re probably willing to help you get there. They want to offer all the career help they can.
Your leadership doesn’t have to come in the form of a traditional manager, either. This might be a bigger company, like Skyword, or a client you’re freelancing for.
Sit down with a trusted leader and work together to come up with tangible projects; ask them what their expectations are of you and your output. Use them as a sounding board for different ideas, and encourage them to read your work before hitting publish—even if they’re not editorially inclined. The more you can loop others into your creative process, the less lonely you’ll feel.
Ultimately, it can be a blessing in disguise to be the only content creator at a company: You are trusted to push out quality content that represents an entire brand.
Don’t let the loneliness wear you down; instead, create your own goals. Where do you want the company blog to be one year from now? How about your writing style or your own career?
You’re unique, so your goals should be, too. Use these goals to propel you forward, whether you’re surrounded by others or working on your own.
Learn how to overcome “6 Critical Challenges to Content Creation” to make publishing more efficient.