A Day in the Life of a Content Writer
February 27, 2019
Well here it is, my first blog post. I thought I would write about a typical day in the life of a writer, well this copywriter anyway. While I was thinking about how to start the post, I had a telephone call from a potential new client and we ended up having quite a good laugh about his perception of what a writers schedule looks like and what it actually is. Was my blog post idea solidified after talking to him? You bet it was.
One of the benefits of being a content writer, or writer of any kind, is that you can work anywhere as long as you have your laptop and the internet. Being a copywriter in North Vancouver, British Columbia, I have clients locally and in Vancouver, but the great thing about this job is that I also have clients across Canada and internationally too. Between having communication avenues like Skype, email, and the telephone, there really aren’t any limits as to where a writer can work. Whether it be website content, blog posts, articles, ghostwriting, brand content, travel writing, or, one of my favourites, meta tag titles and descriptions, I can earn a living as a content copywriter anywhere.
Another seemingly beneficial aspect of being a copywriter is working from home, sounds like a nice idea, right? Imagine getting up in the morning and not having to rush about selecting an outfit or fussing with all that showering, makeup, or shaving business. Think of all the money you could save on clothes by just keeping your pajamas and slippers on all day. The morning you do decide to spruce up a bit, perhaps it’s the day you have to take the garbage to the curb, well, why not just throw on your best sweatpants and hoodie, more than fine, don’t you think? A squirt of perfume or cologne? No way, why bother, it’s just you, home all alone…..all day. Well, I can’t speak for every copywriter, freelance writer, ghostwriter, or content writer out there, but working from home is not something I particularly enjoy.
I have an interesting book called Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, and it’s about famous artists and writers and their daily work routines. It’s interesting to note that many of the artists Currey writes about, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and painter Pablo Picasso, had strict routines that they never broke. Similarly, a common thread among most of the writers, artists, philosophers, or scientists in the book is that they all would spend a big chunk of their day away from their home. For many of them, gathering inspiration from taking long walks was a common part of their routine as was taking the early morning hours to do some of their main writing or creating. I was surprised to discover that the more artistic they were, the more regimented their schedule. However, the common thread of most of the artists were that they had to get out of the house each and every day.
Like some of the artists noted in this book, I too follow quite a strict schedule for my work week that completely works for my lifestyle and personality. An aspiring yogi with a huge interest in Ayurveda, I have a morning routine which is concentrated on yoga, meditation, and a few morning Ayurveda practices. Given that these practices take some time, and depending on if I have to Skype any of my overseas clients, I’m usually up by either 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. so that my work day can begin at 9:00 a.m. Am I doing yoga and mediation for that three hours, no way. I spend at least 45 minutes slugging back coffee as I stare aimlessly out the window without a thought in my head, not meditation, not yoga or an Ayurveda practice, but a part of my morning ritual nevertheless.
Next, I prepare my notes for the day on everything I have to do. I have a big pack of colourful note cards, typically used as flash cards for school children, but I use them to write down my list for the day. Depending on my mood, I have a choice of either blue, pink, yellow, green, or orange, pastel of course. This, believe it or not, is a highlight of my day. As a writer, there is always something special about taking a blank slate and writing down purposeful, functional things that are personal. Yes, most people are a bit more high tech than getting a thrill out of writing on colourful flash cards, but let’s face it, I’m on my computer for at least 8 hours a day, when I can actually write something with good old-fashioned pen and paper, I take that opportunity. On a side note, calligraphy is something I have always loved, hence my desire to keep my penmanship in tact in this age where pens are becoming as obsolete as telephone booths.
Ok, now that I have my yoga, meditation, and caffeine fix, (yes, I know that is not how yogis do it) I am ready to get dressed and hit the road. Oh, yes, I do get dressed and actually leave the house for the day. Sweatpants and a hoodie? I don’t think so. A bit of a clothes hound, part of the reason I leave the house for the day is just to make use of all the clothes I have. Also, getting a nice ensemble together for the day makes me feel good, especially in the event that a client wants to meet with me. So, I figure out what to wear and then knock that off my list. By now it’s 8:30, so I have to get a move on if I’m going to make it to work on time. Where are you going you ask? My goal everyday of the week is to be somewhere, other than my house, laptop open and working by 9:00 a.m., not for everyone but it works for me.
Sounds kind of nerdy but I love libraries, always have. In North Vancouver we have a great library only a few blocks away which is one of the places I love to work at. My all-time favourite library though is the West Vancouver Memorial Library, the same library I sat at many years ago when I studied at the University of British Columbia. I love being around people, especially quiet people, so the library is the perfect place to work. Getting to the library early ensures that I will have my pick of seats and the West Vancouver Memorial Library has a beautiful variety of areas where you can sit and work. Now, this library doesn’t open until 10:00, so the days I go there I will park my car quite far away and walk to the library, a good way to get some exercise in before sitting all day.
The beauty of being anywhere but home as I work is that its just me and my computer. I can’t go clean a cupboard, do laundry, have a nap, bake a cake, chat on the phone with a friend, and if I start to stare off into space at the library people will get uncomfortable so I pretty much have to just hunker down and get to work. So, there you have it, the life of a copywriter who lives in North Vancouver, does her copywriting most often in West Vancouver, and who recommends doing whatever works for you as long as you keep creating.