Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
Freelance writers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are stay at home mothers, others are part time to earn some extra cash, and some are fulltime. Everyone works with their lifestyle.
As for me, I’ve been a full time freelance writer for just about three years. I’m regularly asked how much I work and how I spend my time. Let’s attack those questions by exploring an average day in the life of a fulltime writer.
Everyone has different needs, obligations and responsibilities that need to be considered when planning one’s day. As for me, I have no children, no spouse and no major responsibilities. This grants me, well, an absurd amount of free time. I’ve fine-tuned my daily routine to be productive, lucrative and stress free.
It All Begins With Coffee
A freelance writer who doesn’t drink coffee is a rare breed. To me, that’s like mining gold with no mule. Sure, it’s possible, but it’ll take longer and your back will hurt (the metaphor sort of breaks down right there).
My day begins between 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. The first thing I do is brew up some coffee. After a short porcelain cruise, I greet my desk with a drip coffee swimming with sugar and cream.
I begin by reviewing any active assignments with any of my clients. Is there anything due this morning? As a general rule, I avoid going to sleep with anything that’s due too early in the day. That’s not a fun way to wake up. I like a little leisure.
After a brief review, I jump to my various client websites and see if there’s any new work available. I do this several times throughout the day.
If I have work that’s due shortly, I start researching the topic and making sure I understand the instructions. If there’s no work due within the next few hours, I’ll browse freelance writer gig listings on various websites and send out inquiries for anything that looks interesting. Continually finding new clients is vital to building a lasting freelance career.
After the first cup has been consumed, and a second poured and mixed, I might begin working on an outline or just full on attack an assignment. Usually by the end of the second cup, some money has been made and some gigs have been sought.
Scheduling Your Day as It’s Happening
Unlike some jobs, I don’t always know what will come up during the course of a day. Sometimes I’ll go to bed with no assignments or prospects for the next day, planning for a day off, and then a few hours in I’ll have a significant amount of work. Things happen. You have to roll with it.
You have to schedule your day as it is happening.
The coffee portion of my day is probably the most recurring event. After that, what happens varies wildly. A client might have some work come up, I might get an email with a blog post request or I might snag something from sites that post work up for grabs.
Learning when you work most productively, or write your best work, is crucial to scheduling as you go. I do best in the mornings, then I slump (nap) and do great after my mid-day jog. It takes time to figure out your best times to work, but it’s worth the effort. Mix up your routine from time to time and take note of differences.
By figuring out my productive times, it’s gotten to where my actual time spent writing is less than two hours for most days. The rest of my work time is spent finding clients or communicating with them. Of course, I do take plenty of breaks, and I’m not talking little 15 minute ones.
Ending the Day with Class
It’s vitally important to have a regular time you quit working. Otherwise, it’s easy to literally work all day. I’ve been there before. You roll out of bed to your desk, then 12-15 hours later you roll out of your desk to your bed. That’s too much rolling to lead any type of life.
Instead, decide to be done with work at 5:00 PM or whatever works for you. I aim to be done by 7:00 PM. I allow for some flexibility based on things that might come up, but this is my end time. I make sure there’s no work that’s due too early the next day, and I “clock out”.
What I do after 7:00 PM is none of your business.
About the Author: After 7 years of office life, Travis decided to pursue a freelance lifestyle. While there have been many ups and downs, freelancing is everything he hoped it’d be. It’s allowed him to travel extensively and even live overseas. Travis continues to write every day.
After 7 years of office life, Travis G decided to pursue a freelance lifestyle. While there have been many ups and downs, freelancing is everything he hoped it’d be. It’s allowed him to travel extensively and even live overseas. Travis continues to write every day.