A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer/Editor

Saturday, November 05, 2016
A photo posted by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on

As I was mulling over the topic of this blog post, my first inclination was to mention that I’m frustrated with the amount of time I’m spending transporting my kids to all their various activities, and am seriously considering a side gig as an Uber driver. Then I thought maybe readers don’t want to listen to my whining. Instead, I decided to give a brief illustration as to what a day looks like for this freelance writer/editor. It was very eye-opening. Here’s a snapshot.

6-6:15 a.m. I roll out of bed and lunge for the cup of coffee my husband hands me. The next hour is spent in a frenzy of tossing waffles in the toaster for the kids, packing their lunches, and trying not to trip over my two dogs, who have decided that they are famished at 6:30 in the morning. My kids attend a charter school, so unfortunately there is no bus in the neighborhood to whisk them off. Instead, we climb into the car at 7:25 to make the 20-minute drive to school, after which I commute 20 minutes back home. Then, I make myself breakfast and and sip another cup of coffee as I contemplate my list of deadlines.

8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. I spent the majority of the morning compiling the December calendar events for one of the publications I work for. I took a stretch break at one point to load the dishwasher. Then I sat back down and edited a sponsored content magazine article for that is scheduled to go live in a few weeks. By this point, both dogs were staring at me pretty sadly so I got out their leashes and took them out for a walk to clear my head. I came back and did a little more calendar work, and then took a break to make myself lunch.

1-2:30 p.m. I debated whether or not I should squeeze in some exercise or keep working. Because it was Friday, and I had some wiggle room with one of my deadlines, I decided a short jog would do me some good. I was glad I made that decision once the endorphins kicked in. After that, it was time for a quick shower, sending out a few invoices, and answering some e-mails. By 2:30 I was in the car to pick up my kids.

From 2:30 p.m. on my schedule varies depending on what the kids are doing after school. One day a week I don’t have to pick them up until 4:30 because of chess club. But most of the time, I pick them up at 3 p.m. and then head back home to squeeze in a few more hours of work. Note: At least three nights out of the week someone in the household has evening activities.

As you can see, I haven’t been really good about squeezing my passion projects into my day. I’m trying to work on that. Some days I feel torn between client projects, exercise, and working on manuscripts or short stories. The fiction projects usually take a backseat, and that is where I’m struggling. I found some great tips in this article on productivity hacks and am hoping to implement a few of these soon.

Do you have difficulty squeezing in your own passion projects? Do you have any tips on how you balance your writing time between other responsibilities?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year so she could work on the manuscript she wrote for NaNoWriMo two years ago. Wish her luck. Visit her blog at Renee's Pages


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--It's tough when you have young kids at home. I didn't start writing until my kids were teens (one was grown and gone by that time) so I SAY it's tough, but I don't really know how tough...

Is there part of a weekend day or weekday evening that you can carve out as "do not disturb" time? Put the hubby in charge? Maybe in your calendar schedule one or two periods of time (falling on different days each week due to your kids'schedule) that is Renee time--time to work on your passion projects?

I imagine getting up earlier--like at 5--might not be appealing, but I know some writers who get up at that time so they can write, since it's too early for any other intelligent human being to be up. ;)

Good luck.

Crystal Otto said...

Oh friend - I feel you. I'm hoping Sioux is right and as our children get older this time management part of the gig will get easier. In the meantime, sending you hugs.


Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--I wish I could get up at 5 a.m. and write. I am just not one of those people, ha ha! I was brainstorming today and realized Tuesday evenings would be a good time to work on fiction. My husband and son have Cub Scouts, and I after I drop my daughter off at orchestra practice at 6:30, I have about two hours and fifteen minutes before everyone comes home. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, it might be a great time to reserve for strictly writing. I can also plan on working for a few hours on the weekend, too, as long as I let everyone know ahead of time.

Crystal--believe it or not, I feel like I got so much more writing done when my kids were smaller! Now that they are 10 and 13, they are always either heading off to activities or time with friends and not just hanging out here at the house. I just need to be smarter about my time management until the day when my daughter gets her driver's license (eek!)

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