A Day in the life of a Freelance Writer


Freelance writers create stories, articles, blogs, press releases, adverts and technical manuals. Whether fiction or nonfiction, the majority of writers work on a range of these different products rather than just concentrating on one, and will allocate them a certain amount of time during their day accordingly.

1) Writing

Approximately forty percent of a writer’s day will be spent writing their latest novel or set of stories, as well as working on any articles, manuals or blogs they may have been commissioned to create.

2) Researching

Uncovering background information for stories and any articles or blogs that they have been commissioned to write is very important and this will take up a significant proportion of time as well. Readers will expect an author to have his or her facts right.

3) Marketing

Promoting a catalogue of work is essential, and takes up the biggest part of a modern writer’s day. Very few publishers provide adequate marketing or public relations for their authors. This means that writers need to be familiar with all forms of social media so that they can interact with their readers and generate new markets for their work. The preparation and maintenance of this is vital.

4) Blogging

The majority of authors have their own website upon which to promote their work and to pass on news to their fan base and readership. Regular blogs by the author, and any guests they might like to invite to feature on their site, need writing, setting up, and scheduling.

And sometimes one thing needs every hour and more…

5) Personal Appearances

Literary festivals, research groups, libraries, book clubs and conferences all provide opportunities for writers to talk about their work and sign books for the public. Such visible marketing is an essential part of an author’s promotional schedule.

6) Teaching

Many writers teach creative writing classes to bring in additional income. This will obviously require preparation and organisation in and of itself.

Finally, a writer has to be flexible and open to new ideas, organised, willing to take on the freelance writing about subjects they may not be interested in, and be comfortable with public speaking and willing to take the time to travel to promote their work. Most writers are paid in royalties, which are dependent on how many books and articles they’ve sold. They must also be able to adapt their lives to fit in with being paid either every three months, twice a year, or annually.

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Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

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