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Are you new to copywriting? Or maybe you’ve been a freelance copywriter for a while and you’re wondering whether something needs to change? If you’re not sure whether your day is right or wrong, sometimes it helps to see what other people are doing.
When I first started looking into writing a day in the life of blog post, I stumbled across a variety of approaches from my fellow writers. Some were brutally honest but to the point of being demotivating. Others seemed intangibly unrealistic. But then, who am I to say that either type of post is wrong?
To see how my approach contrasts with that of others, I’ve decided to document my Friday as it unfolds.
Rather unusually, my day in the life of a copywriter started at 6.30 am
And no, that isn’t unusual because I wake up later. My partner is fully dedicated to his new swimming regime, which means I often rise at the same time as him: 4.30 am.
As I am not a natural at the early bedtime thing, the morning lark routine was starting to pluck at my sanity. I’ve since invested in silicone earplugs that have stopped me from waking at the same time as the bald dude I share a bed with.
Regardless of what time I wake I generally have the same routine. Be prepared to yak and the complete and utter tweeness of this: I start with yoga, followed by meditation. I used to try and do some bed-bound yoga moves. Trust me, as someone who has been through the rigmarole of postgraduate level anatomy and physiology classes, you don’t want to do this to your spine.
Now I’m not saying my yoga moves are eloquently straight. Nor is my mindfulness meditation free from bizarre thoughts. However, on the days where I don’t do these things I am a bit of a shit to everyone around me. They take the edge off any negative feelings that are on the horizon before they even hit.
I’m not yet at the stage where I can do yoga without guidance so I follow videos from a lady called Adrienne (who very kindly puts a bunch of them on YouTube for free). As for the meditation, it comes from the Calm app. If you find that to be a little ‘woo’, try Headspace instead.
8am to 11.30am: My first batch of writing work
Most of my work as a freelance copywriter unravels in batches. I try to work by the rule of thirds. This means I do one-third of my work, potter off to do something else, do the other third, and so on…
This week my work has been quite varied, but it has included a lot of what I love. Although I have no background in real estate I have a weird thing for writing about fixing and flipping. And then there’s the topic that’s a favourite amongst freelance copywriters worldwide: travel.
As both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are in medical sciences (both theoretical and clinical) I do prefer writing about health care and medicine. There was a little of that this week too, but edging more towards alternative therapies. To maintain a positive mindset, I try to see each topic as a chance to learn something new.
I won’t always have the chance to write about what I want, which means this portion of my day can feel a little forced at first. If you struggle to find motivation as a copywriter, check out my post on tackling those lags.
11.30 am to 2 pm: Exercise
No, I don’t spend the full 2.5 hours exercising. Usually, I will drive to my nearest gym, swim for around 32 lengths, do the whole sauna and steam room thing and then drive back. On some days this will also include a class, a run, or a walk. On the days where it doesn’t, I’ve probably found my way to a shop or two.
This week I definitely found my way to a shop or two. Occasionally I’ll prowl the aisles of Lidl because buying random shit from there is somewhat addictive. At Christmas, the tendency to give in to this addiction increases massively.
Half-an-hour after entering Lidl I exited with Stilton and red onion crisps, chocolate Santas, festive stocking fillers, several types of focaccia, and Lebkuchen. Trust me, that’s a pretty good haul. More often than not I have marched out armed with whichever Riesling or Malbec has made its way into the Decanter list following Lidl’s latest wine tour. The struggle is real.
2 pm to 4 pm: My second batch of copywriting work
Depending on how much work I blasted out earlier, moving through the second batch either feels awesome or frantic. I’m a stickler for meeting my deadlines, but ensuring this happens without feeling too pressured depends on how much I get done in the morning. I’m a firm believer that starting your day in the right way will determine how productive you are for your first few freelancing hours.
There’s not much latitude when it comes to the second batch, as my daughter returns from school at around 4 pm. As a result, I can’t extend the number of hours I spend working.
I know that some freelance copywriters like to take their work outside their house at this point in the day. Although I’ve worked in cafes before, it’s usually out of necessity (my daughter is shopping nearby, I’m waiting for the shops to open, the Internet is down at home). I always stay at home, but if you don’t want to, that’s all good too.
4 pm to 4.30 pm: Wrestling with my child
Not literally, but this part of the day usually involves encouraging her to tell me about school, begging her to get out of her sodding uniform, and promoting a healthier eating regime that goes beyond devouring a packet of Monster Munch.
4.30 pm to 6.30 pm: Batch number three
During the last two hours of my working day, I blast through my third batch of work. On a Friday my stepson comes over which means I can’t really dive in and out of projects during the evening. He’s quite young, so his expectations on the attention front are a little different to my daughter’s.
On any other working evening, I’m likely to finish at 6.30 pm anyway. Usually, I’ll either be ferrying my child to rock climbing or trampolining classes, or I’ll be making a mad rush to a yoga class. Yes, I know that’s hardly conducive to relaxing.
The rest of the evening: freedom!
Or, there’s freedom on a Friday at least. Life as a freelance copywriter means I’ll sometimes need to make tweaks, pick up someone else’s work for extra cash, or market myself. Although there was a time when it was all-encompassing and I couldn’t step away from it, I’m much better at not letting my work life bleed into my relaxation periods.
Is my Friday representative of my other working days? Not always. Sometimes I do a lot more, at other times my life obligations mean I do less. The beauty of working as a freelance copywriter means I don’t have to ask someone for leave, beg a colleague to provide cover or justify the pace I am working at.
Yay for freedom.