Day in the life of a freelance writer

‘Day in the Life’ posts are all the rage at the moment. So of course when Newsmodo asked me to share my average day I was like, hell yeah!

No, not really.

My first thought was ‘why will anyone care about me?’ My second thought; ‘what’s so interesting about my day?’

I spent days thinking about answers to those questions and didn’t get anywhere good. So I decided to tackle this piece another way.

Most ‘Day in the Life’ pieces glorify the freelance life: excessive cups of coffee, ‘exotic food,’ expensive devices, over-the-top launch parties, and hanging out all-so-casually with famous people. The average freelancer’s life looks nothing like this.

Ever wondered how real-life freelancer writers’ juggle all their work commitments and still manage to have a life? I share how I do it.

6:00 a.m.: I’m jolted awake by my alarming going off. What day is it? Oh right, it’s Monday again which means I better get moving. I have a personal training session at the gym to get to.

6:50 a.m.: I use my early morning tram to get a handle on my social media accounts and eat my breakfast – usually a banana. I quickly send a few tweets, reply to a Facebook post, send my congrats to a friend who’s just got a job promotion on LinkedIn, and add my two cents worth to a group conversation I’m having with mates on WhatsApp.

7:00 a.m.: I quickly check my email accounts. I respond to the emails that only require a short answer and make a note of the ones I need to allocate time to once I’m back at my home office.

7:10 a.m.: I double check my calendar for the week and make a list of everything I have to do for the next 7 days. I include both personal and professional items on my list. But I keep these separate. I also separate consultant work from my personal writing work. This helps me break down my day and ensures I’m making progress on a range of things.

I then allocate this list across my work week according to my appointments, client calls, and so on. Each day has one main task and two minor tasks. Sometimes I add a bonus task but I rarely get to it!

7:20 a.m.: The last leg of my tram journey I spend scrolling through my social media newsfeeds pretty aimlessly. I like to see what’s happening in the world and what new cat meme has everyone laughing.

7:45 a.m.: I arrive at the gym early so I can do a few quick stretches before my session starts. I get talking to one of the regulars in the stretching area about their work. They’ve just started a new business and need help writing some marketing material. We exchange details and I make a mental note to call them later in the week.

8:00 a.m.: I try and pump myself up for my personal training session. But it’s not until halfway through my session that I actually start to enjoy it. My trainer Matt works me hard but the exercise helps me feel ready to tackle the day.

9:15 a.m.: After leaving the gym I walked 15 minutes into the city to meet a friend (and client) who’s a communication consultant too, although she’s fairly new to the freelance life. Over coffee, we have an informal coaching session.

We chat about how to schedule your ideal work day, how to handle unorganised clients, and when the best time to increase your rates is. It’s always nice to meet people face-to-face because most of my work is online via email and Skype.

10:00 a.m.: I’m back on a tram, heading home. On this journey, I catch up on some reading. I always have two books on the go: one fiction and one non-fiction. I’m currently reading The Dying Beach by Angela Savage and Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger, in preparation for a series of essays I want to write about the intersection of homelessness, mental health and addiction.

11:00 a.m.: I’ve got my cup of tea ready and the heater on in my home office. Now it’s time to get some work done! I use the Pomodoro technique. I use the five-minute breaks to do house work or make personal phone calls.

Before I start my main tasks for the day I quickly reply to emails and schedule a few meetings. I then focus on my own marketing. Today I’m writing a 200-word sales piece for my blogging package Fabulous Blog Bundle. Once it’s done, I publish the piece on LinkedIn and schedule a promotional post on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

12:30 p.m.: My first task for the day is writing website copy for an HR company. They are currently launching a new website and range of services and need web copy that matches their new direction. It sometimes can be challenging to show a brand’s personality through their content but in this case, I find it easy. The brand has a clear idea of who they are, what they do and who their ideal client is.

1:30 p.m.: I know I shouldn’t eat my lunch – leftover Sunday roast – at my computer but I’m totally in the zone and want to keep writing.

2:30 p.m.: I’m a feature writer for a franchise magazine so my second task for the day is interviewing two franchise owners and then writing 400-word features on them. I spend 10 minutes interviewing each person (I prepared the questions yesterday) and then I start to write the features. I always record my interviews on my digital voice recorder to ensure I don’t misquote anyone, and so I can play it back if I can’t read my notes!

4:30 p.m.: My third task for the day is starting the first draft of a content strategy I’m writing for an international financial institution. This job requires me to do some general research, look over analytics, write social media posts, and come up with an action plan for how to increase engagement across an important campaign. It’s nice to take a break from writing.

6:00 p.m.: I leave my office behind and concentrate on my making dinner for me and my partner. I’ve never been particularly good at cooking. I manage to get sauce and chilli powder all over my phone as I listen to the Penmanship podcast while I cook. I hope my chorizo and bean stew tastes better than it looks.

7:30 p.m.: Finished with dinner and bored with TV, I head back to my office to check my emails and plan my tasks for tomorrow.

7:45 p.m.: I’m not completely brain-dead so I decide to spend 45 minutes working on a personal writing piece that’s been accepted at a literary magazine.

8:30 p.m.: I find myself in bed already, scrolling through social media and sending Snapchats to my brother.

9:30 p.m.: Where did the time go? Social Media is such a time suck! I decide to read one of the million magazines on my bedside table. I feel way more productive now.

10.45 p.m.: Can’t remember anything about the article in National Geographic I was just reading. I must be tired. Time to turn off the lamp.

This piece was originally written for and featured on Newsmodo.

Featured image from Pexels.

Hi, I’m Rachel

I support multi-talented business owners to get clear on what makes them tick and desperately needed in their industry so they can make more money.

Should you start a podcast?

Should you start a podcast?

Do you genuinely want to start a podcast? Or do you think it’s the only way to grow your audience, share your expertise and produce evergreen content?


Should you start a podcast?

Should you start a podcast?

Do you genuinely want to start a podcast? Or do you think it’s the only way to grow your audience, share your expertise and produce evergreen content?