A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

Ever wonder what Monday morning is like for the freelance writer? Here is a rundown of a typical day’s events in my life.

7:00am The alarm goes off.  I shuffle downstairs for a hot cup of coffee followed by 15 minutes of prayer/meditation.  I like the idea of centering myself before the bustle of the day begins.  I try start the day with gratitude and an expectation that good opportunities will come my way. 

7:15am  I make a quick list of to do’s based on last night’s Note to Self.  These are the top 3 to 5 things I need to get done to stay on track.  Today’s list included making contact with a new client who was referred to me, setting an interview with a business owner who needs a business profile written, design two marketing pieces due Wednesday, follow-up on a client meeting for a marketing gig, follow up on a writing project for a village.  Freelancing allows me to serve a whole host of client needs, expanding my horizon and pulling me out of my comfort zone. 

7:30am  I am a writer, but I am also a mom.  At this point in life, my older kids are self-propelled, but I have an 11-year-old, whom I need to drag out of bed kicking and screaming. I need to make sure she surfaces with enough time to get herself ready for school.  From 7:30 to 8, I hang in the background while the girls get ready for school.  I use this time to free-form write for a few minutes, put out fires that the kids may have started (metaphorically, of course), and drink another cup of coffee. 

8:00am  Say goodbye to the girls, drive the ones to school who may be late, and make sure they have what they need for the day.

8:20am  More coffee. I crack open the laptop and review any emails that may have come in overnight from potential clients.  Today there was a referral for some web content work.  Draft an email with potential client and set a phone consultation to discuss the project.  Spend 30 minutes reviewing the website to see where the client sits and come up with a few intelligent suggestions for the upcoming phone meeting.

8:50am  Think about taking a shower, realize there are no clean towels, throw a load of towels in the washer.

9:00am  Work on marketing pieces for existing client.  I have a couple of revenue streams.  One is strictly writing content, business profiles, and editing.  The other involves a combination of writing and graphic design.  The design work typically takes longer, requires more edits and revisions and pulls me out of my comfort zone.  While I work on these designs, I generally contemplate quitting, getting a nice safe job at a bookstore or opening a sandwich shop. 

12:00pm Realize I am hungry from thinking about the sandwich shop and make some lunch.  Today I had sautéed veggies and a bag of potato chips.  More coffee.  Rotate towels from washer to dryer.

2:00pm  Design work done.  Mind numb.  Still in pajamas.

2:05pm  Give myself a brief pep talk about accomplishing the task and how it wasn’t so bad after all. I feel pretty good about it and have decided not to bag it altogether just yet. 

2:15pm  Take a shower, get dressed, head out to WalMart to buy ink…I used it all printing drafts of the marketing pieces. 

4:00pm  Pick up 11-year-old from after school activities. 

4:30pm  Make chicken soup for dinner.  Help 11-year-old with homework.  Help older daughter recover lost password for online assignment. 

5:00pm  Eat soup.  Realize there is no hope of getting any more work done today now that kids/spouse are home. 

8:00pm  Children/spouse have disappeared into electronic devises.  Work on article for Medium.  I try to publish every day on the platform.  At least two articles a week are business related.  Usually two are flash fiction because I did not have time to research and write a business-related post and I am determined to post every weekday.  I have only been on the platform for a couple weeks, but the discipline needed to create content for the sake of creating content has been beneficial to my overall experience of being a writer in many ways.  To be a writer…one must write!

9:00pm  Discern the day.  This is another free-form writing exercise where I sum up the day and review how I did in achieving my goals.  Today I did not get to either of my follow-ups nor did I meet with the dry cleaner.  These I will put at the top of my to-dos for tomorrow.  I also write about interactions I had with people-especially if the encounter did not go as expected.  These notes often make great fodder for character development and flash fiction topics.  (Never piss off a writer…you may end up in a book or a blog post!)

9:30pm  Chill time with the hubby and kids.  Clean up the kitchen.  Try to get everyone settled in for bed by 10pm.  Well, at least the 11-year-old.  Like I said, the others are on auto-pilot.

10:00pm  Create my Note to Self for the next day.  This sets me up for success as I don’t need to waste any time in the morning wondering where to start.  I also take 10 minutes to Discern the Day and put my thoughts to rest.  By writing down the thrills and spills of the day, I give my mind permission to let them go.  It makes for an easier transition to sleep.

I realize that this day in the life of was not romantic or edgy.  I did not ride my motorcycle through Tuscany or sleep with a tall dark stranger. It was not glamorous.  In my case, the writing does not involve much alcohol.  (I don’t know how Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or any of the greats accomplished so much meaningful writing that way!). 

The freelance life does involve doing what I love.  Putting pen to the page.  And that’s what really matters.

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