A Day in the Life of a Copywriter
Working as a copywriter, especially if you’re a freelancer and own your own business is full of the multitude of tasks that running a successful business takes.
If you’re good at what you do – and you will become good at what you do if you stay at it and learn from your mistakes (!) – then you’ll find what works best for you and allot your time accordingly.
Let’s take a peek at what those tasks are and what a typical days looks like. Anyone in business must make room in their schedule for attracting and bringing in new business.
Marketing is not a sometimes activity, it’s an ongoing activity. If you make a plan, you can follow that plan and like anything else, it becomes simple to do, almost rote. Whatever method you choose for building a client base, you must systematize and be at it all the time – when you have plenty of work and when you have ‘slack’ windows as well. Over time, it will all even out.
You need to know how long projects take you and account for the occasional minor (or major!) underestimation where you’ll have to eat the time as well as the income from other projects you’ll miss because one is taking longer than planned. Trust me, it all evens out in the end and you often learn a ton from the mistakes!
You also have to make sure you’re billing and collecting money, which doesn’t take much time, but it’s and activity to consider and plan for.
Taking all that into consideration, here’s what a relaxed week looks like for me. Monday: 9-9:30, respond to emails, check out sites where I’m a member and might contribute a word or two. Write client copy until 11:00. 11-noon, take my daily walk. Noon-1: write copy. Take a quick lunch break. Write copy from 1-4. Call it day.
Tuesday: check email quickly and write until about 10:30 Take an hour walk break. Come back, write for 1.5, take a longer lunch, then come back and write for about 3 hours.
The rest of the week looks pretty much the same. To take it a step further, the writing time is sometimes creating copy or editing copy, but it’s sometimes laying out ideas on index cards and putting them together while doing research.
Every project I have in-house is on a white board with to-do items for the week; in my electronic calendar with time booked to work on that project and each client has a folder where anything relevant to a particular job is filed.
I track the amount of time I work on every project so I know how long everything takes, that way I can bid on jobs and plan the work, because I actually how much time is required to get the job done.
Over time, you’ll develop a rhythm and learn when to do which tasks. I’m not much good for creating after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but the window between 9-2 is really fertile. I do marketing and admin in the hours when creativity is low.
Unless I’ve overcommitted – and I try hard not to do that – my days have a nice, relaxed flow and I’ve learned to be flexible and take advantage of other things that come my way – invitations to lunch or to go kayaking, or to the zoo – as long as I know I can reschedule the work and still get it done on time. Staying organized lets you sleep well at night, you know it will all get done, on time and for a great paycheck.
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