Archive for April, 2011

My Writing Day

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Linda Jones of wrote an entertaining and fascinating post this week called “My writing day”, which basically does what it says on the tin: it describes a day in the life of a freelance writer, editor and mom.

I love posts like these that dive into the nitty gritty of one specific person’s experience. It just goes to show how everyone’s is different. While Linda is dealing with her 12-year-old twins and responding to pitches, others have different responsibilities.

So here’s my writing day, written based on today. Of course, this changes every day, but such is the life of a freelancer – always changing, never predictable, but always free.

My writing day

Home office

I wake up at 5:15am because I’m a morning person. As soon as I’m awake I think of all the things I have to do. This is both exciting and annoying.

I get out of bed, turn on the kettle and prop my laptop on the kitchen counter. There I stand for the next hour drinking a cup of tea and finishing whatever it was I started the night before. Today it was a short blog post on composting. I do my best writing in the morning.

After my tea I’m feeling a little more energetic, so head to the gym to lift some weights. I’m tired today. Sore. Could have used more sleep. But I push on, and feel good for having done something (one is better than zero).

Then I come home and have a smoothie and a cup of decaf coffee. By now it’s 8:15am and the dog is giving me that “is it time to go for a walk yet?” look, so I give in and take him for a half hour romp in the fields.

Home again. The need to start working is nagging at me. But toast with almond butter and tea sound nice. So I get that all set up, and as the clouds descent on what was a sunny day, I decide this is a good day to work from bed.

It’s just past 9am. Right. In my mind I list three things I’ve been meaning to do – follow up with an editor on an unpaid invoice, email one of my clients with some edits to some marketing material, and write a proposal for another client for a bit of social media writing I want to do. I tell myself “get it done in an hour”. And I push.

I make the 1-hour deadline, and it’s on to the next thing: a blog post due Wednesday for another client. This one requires some research. I both love and hate research. It’s fun searching Google and reading about things, but it always feels like fake work for me. Nevermind, I can charge for it. Life is good.

Research is exhausting, even when done in bed. So I stretch my legs with another dog walk, and decide it’s time for lunch. Or rather, brunch. It’s only 11:30am, but I’m famished. Over the weekend I made some salsa and sauteed a bunch of onion, potato and green pepper. This made brunch a simple matter of heating up the potato mixture, adding egg and salsa, and viola: a mexican scrambled egg concoction that really hit the spot. Quick but nutritious lunches are essential for the busy freelancer – I often get the nutritious part right, but not so much the “quick” part. Such is the joy of working from home – ultimate freedom to make involved lunches of fresh baked breads, complicated soups and endless salads with homemade vinaigrettes. But then – whoops! – the day is gone, and nothing got done.

I did not fall into that trap today.

Back to work (and back to bed). There’s an instant message from a client. He’s got two requests: one for a bit of copywriting for his website, the other a blog post. I say “I’ll have this done by 3pm” because I like to set myself deadlines. This keeps me busy for a couple of hours. Then I have a call with another client whose blog I write for to discuss content for the week. It’s getting late in the afternoon, and my creativity starts to wane. Time for another dog walk.

Back at home I’m not in the mood for much writing, so I do some networking instead. I check in on Twitter where I am once again overwhelmed by the numerous online presences I’ve created for myself and promise to make time to consolidate it all at some point. But not right now, because we’re approaching the dinner hour. Time to relax with some Radio 6 and a vegetable-chopping session.

I feed the dog and feed myself then clean up and turn on the kettle. It’s the home stretch and I like to use my evenings to work on fun projects like photography or SmarterFitter. Today, it’s Writer’s Residence. So I wrote this. But I probably won’t publish it until the morning, so I can give it once last look with fresh eyes. Then again, I’m feeling sassy tonight – maybe I’ll just go for it.

Unfortunately, getting up at 5:15am means I’m pretty wiped by about 8:30pm… which was 13 minutes ago. So I make myself a cup of tea, and then tell Jay dog that “it’s time for sleep”. Dog gets a floor cuddle before the end of the day, so I sit on the floor with him and tell him he’s a good boy until he gets over excited and I say “fine, be that way.” Then I get into bed with my tea and a book – Margaret Atwood’s “Blind Assassin” at the moment. But I usually only get through a few pages before I pass out like a lump.

Graphic: The Writing Process

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Ed Yong of Discover Magazine recently published this brilliant graphical representation of the process of writing a feature. Can you relate? I know I can, with a particularly long stop at the “it seems I’ve forgotten how to write” stage.