Pet Projects and Why You Should Have One

I love writing for clients. I truly do. You get so much out of working on a project that you would likely otherwise not have picked up when you work for someone else. This is one of the things I enjoy about ghostwriting, as odd of a discipline as it is – the autonomy and the ideas I get from others that I would not have come up with on my own. 

But so often, writers spend every hour of their lives working for others and forget entirely to write for themselves. I mean after all, we didn’t wake up one day and start writing hoping we could one day land a client. Most of the time, writers start writing because they love to write. Right? 

So even though you’re a freelancer, you don’t have to give up on writing other things that you love. This is one of the reasons I love Constant Content so much – I can write about what I want, post it, and some day it might sell. 

But even that is a far cry from working on your own project. I firmly believe that you should always be working on something for you. Something your name will be on. Something that you’re going to publish or promote. And in the world of self-publishing that we have the privilege to work in, we can pretty much publish anything at the click of a button. 

Kindle Direct Publishing is my outlet of choice at the moment and I’m publishing my first e-book the first weekend of October. Very exciting stuff! I’m also writing a book on soap making, 2 novels, and about 30 articles for clients. So how do I manage it? I make sure to take time for my project. Even if it’s 20 minutes. Even if it’s just outlining a chapter. I do something on my project every day. 

There are other projects that I’m taking on, as well. You can publish articles to the Kindle, as well, so long as they’re at least 5,000 words and below 30,000. I plan to start publishing articles a few times a month, and I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone who enjoys that style of writing. 

For one thing, your article shows up next to e-books, so it’s not like people have to search for articles to find you. In addition to that, article prices are a relative bargain when posted next to e-books, so it is likely that someone will choose to buy an article on a particular subject first, or in addition to or instead of a book. 

In the written title I plan to put [Article] so that my customers know what they’re getting. But I think it’s a great opportunity for writers who want to start publishing. 

Even if you’re not going the self-publish route, though, you should have something you work on that you love that’s yours and yours alone. In fact, even if for some reason you don’t plan to publish it, you should write something for you. 

Writing is, at its core, personal, and if you spend too much of your personal creativity writing for others, you can start feeling a little drained, uninspired, and dead inside. Writing should never feel corporate – past writing for businesses, of course – and if it does, you should pick up a pet project or spend more time on the one you have. 

At least that’s how I feel about it. 🙂 How about you? Do you have a pet project? What are you working on this week?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I managed to self-publish my first novel before I began ghostwriting for others, so my pet projects are already alive. However, with so much work available, it’s now proving tricky to get the sequel completed. I’ve had to re-assess my priorities and schedule time for my own work as well as pleasing the clients.

    1. courtneyherz says:

      Very true, thanks for your input! I think this is a really good point that you bring up, because it is a fine illustration of what happens so often. Writers begin with a pet project because they love to write, then they self-publish or get involved in promoting their work. But eventually, as they delve more and more into freelancing, they become client-focused, which is great, but can also wind up killing the projects that they live, which inspired them to write in the first place. Balance is key, but often hard to find. Best of luck in your endeavors!

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