freelance business

Difference Between Professional and Creative Writing

Melanie Green
April 11, 2019

Not all writers are the same. Some writers focus on creative writing, which includes writing original pieces of art such as novels, screenplays, and poems. Others write content for companies in a professional capacity and craft blog posts, marketing copy, and whitepapers.

If you’re looking to work with a writer for your business, you may find the differences between creative and professional writers surprising. Read on to learn some of the disparities.

Waiting for Inspiration vs. Setting Word Goals

Many creative writers wait until they feel inspired to write. This means a novel could take several years (or even decades) to write since they wait for their muse to inspire them. Some famous creative writers generated very little written content over the course of their lives. This isn’t to indicate that there aren’t many creative writers who are prolific. However, if a professional copywriter only wrote when they felt inspired, it wouldn’t likely be a career that could pay the bills.

Professional copywriters and freelance writing coaches encourage new writers to set word goals for each day or hour. Some variations of this include the number of projects per day or the compensation earned per day. It isn’t uncommon for copywriters to generate 500 words an hour for eight hours straight. It’s a job that clients expect to be performed with relative consistency.

Established Processes and Research Guidelines

To generate 500 words an hour, professional writers must work from established processes and research protocols to get themselves started. Nothing is more intimidating than a blank page, but professional writers must quickly overcome this cause of procrastination. Creating an outline and setting up sources for each new job are ways to get cracking and meet client deadlines.

‘Good Enough’

Professional writers must accept that writing is “good enough,” while creative writers often spend hours agonizing over word choice. This isn’t to say that clients should accept subpar work. In a novel, it might make a difference if the writer uses the word “magnificent” or “marvelous” in the context of the sentence structure. In most cases, it wouldn’t matter which of the two synonyms was used in a social media post.

The Writer and the Client

Creative writers write content for themselves, while professional writers write content for their clients. This means professional writers use the client’s preferred style, even if they personally prefer another type. Creative writers work to create their own voice and rely on their own preferences, values, and writing style.

Then again, there are professional copywriters who write novels and novelists who create amazing copy for blog posts. Identify your needs and research which type of writer meets your unique requirements. Knowing the distinction can make a difference.  

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