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Trisha Faye is back again. This is Trisha’s fourth guest post on Write Naked! If you missed her last one, she wrote this piece on getting started with critique groups last year. In her post below, Trisha explores the dilemma faced by many freelance writers, including myself. Is it an easy shift between journalism and content marketing, or fiction writing and press release writing? For me, the mental switch becomes more reflexive over time. Trisha explains more…

journalist thinking

Which Writer Hat to Wear?
By Trisha Faye

Are you a journalist? Content marketer? Novelist? Do you write in different genres? Even Stephen King, the undisputed king of his genre writes outside of the arena where he gained notoriety.

Writing in a mix of genres and styles has unique challenges. Styles and formats differ. The voice you use as an author for business-to-business content marketing varies from what children’s short stories need. How do you juggle different genres and remain sane, focused, and productive?

Not everyone has problems maintaining focus. Dr. Barbara Sinor, the author of many recovery books including Tales of Addiction, is fortunate. She states, “When I write, all my attention is centered on the topic or subject for which I am addressing, whether a novel or personal account of getting through the day. When I was writing “Finding Destiny”, a fiction story, all my focus was aimed at finding the next big excitement for my heroine to experience; and when I was writing “Inspirational Musings,” I allowed only insight and lessons into my writing awareness.”

But, there are the rest of us…

C. Hope Clark’s newsletter, Funds for Writers (FFW), has over 35,000 subscribers and was been chosen as one of the ‘101 Best Writing Websites’ by Writer’s Digest for the last 18 years in a row. Besides FFW, Clark also authors two fiction series (Edisto Island Mysteries and the Carolina Slade Mysteries), many nonfiction articles, and has many appearances, books signings, and podcasts.

She shares that editing (left-brain logical) and creating fiction (right-brain creative) becomes a juggling act. FFW has weekly deadlines, set in stone, with many small, fact-based pieces. Her novels have a long contract deadline, with 6-10 months to write an 85,000-100,000-word mystery. When working on the novels, she finds that sometimes it’s difficult to stay focused for more than 500 words at a time, being used to the short, frequent FFW deadlines.

After experimenting with varying her writing times, Clark discovered that writing earlier in the day rewarded her with higher word counts. She also found that whichever right or left brain process she begins with during the day is usually the one she sticks with, which helps keep her from being torn between the two. Her FFW deadline becomes a priority on Fridays. On Mondays, correspondence from readers and peers and freelance opportunities dictate a nonfiction/entrepreneurial day. The other days she can jump into her novels, knowing that the other bases are not neglected.
Clark has a few personal mantras that help her remain focused and productive:

  1. End the day feeling happy about the results. Sacrifice to the point of frustration is not worth it.
  2. Remember why you got into the business. Judge each day by how well you adhere to those missions.
  3. If you’re unhappy with the results, something is amiss and needs to change.
  4. Be willing to give up some aspects of writing to the benefits of others. For instance, she’d rather write a completely new blog post or article than worry about how to reprint something already written.
  5. Be willing to hire a webmaster, formatter, cover designer, or editor. Everything does not have to be do-it-yourself.
  6. It’s about the reader first and foremost. She feels that when it becomes more about her than the reader, she’s become lost in the woods.

Allocate certain days to different projects. Use your prime creative time for the most challenging parts of your author business. Hire work out. Be organized with your paperwork. When you’re working on a project, focus on that work. Set a specific time frame, such as 30 minutes or 3 hours, or 500 words – then switch gears to another piece.

These tips can help you wear different author hats and remain sane, even if it feels like you have a split personality. You can do this – without an actual hat for each genre.

trisha fayeTrisha Faye writes in a variety of genres; stories about people from the past, inspirational writing, with a few short children’s stories tossed in for good measure. Her whimsical muse forced her to buy hats and decorate them for each genre she write in. If she’s not at the computer, wrestling with which genre she wants to write in that day, she’s out playing with her houseful of rescue cats that play their own role in keeping her sane. (She thinks!) Find her on FacebookTwitter @texastrishafayeInstagram @faye_trisha.