No, that’s not a typo. As freelancers, we spend a lot of time trying to achieve work-life balance. But I think creative types also need something I like to call work-work balance. So what the heck is that? It’s a balance between work you’re doing for clients and work you’re doing just for yourself.
When I first started freelancing, I cranked out essays without worrying about who might buy them, toiled away on short stories, and started half-brained side projects with friends. But last year I found my plate so full with client work that I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote something just for fun.
And I started missing the freedom and experimentation that comes with a project you’re tackling just because you feel like it. It stretches my creative muscles and makes me question the way I approach my work. Instead of focusing on strategy, goals and deadlines, I’m playing and excited about writing.
Think of it as recess for your creative brain. Letting it run circles around the merry-go-round and slide down the big slide makes it easier to buckle down on that big project tomorrow. It also gives you a fresh perspective, pushes your skills in new directions and helps you remember why you wanted to create stuff in the first place.
I’ve squeezed in a few side projects this year, but as I work on my 2011 business plan, I’m taking back Friday afternoons. It’s going to say CREATIVE RECESS on my Google calendar.
What kind of personal projects are you working on? How do you make time for them?
BTW: Speaking of Google calendars, if yours doesn’t yet have any marketing tasks for 2011, check out the 2011 Marketing Mentor Marketing Plan + Calendar — it syncs with your Google, iCal and Outlook calendars.