A day in the life of a copywriter

Friday 23 March

Log on and check my bank account to see whether anyone has paid me overnight. No. Hmph.

Check my emails.

Some spam (filtered into a separate folder), some newsletters, some invitations to networking events, and a money-off pizza offer.

Drive to West Wickham to run a 1-hour one-to-one blogging workshop. The client is excited about the possibilities this gives to promote her business. It’s fun and there’s lots of information to share, so I stay a bit longer.

Get back to find the post has arrived. Hoorah, it contains a cheque for an overdue payment! Yes, some clients do still pay by cheque. Not many, but some.

Tweak the copy I wrote yesterday. Four articles, about 1,800 words. Three of them flowed quite nicely straightaway; I’m struggling a bit with the fourth. Do a bit of Internet research and finally wrestle it into a shape I’m satisfied with. Email the draft copy to the client. He instantly replies, asking me to send my invoice. I like this client!

Check my emails, Twitter and Facebook.

Hold a 45-minute phone conversation with someone who might want me to rewrite her website. We talk through her answers to the standard 15 questions I sent her last week. I give her some ideas about how her site might be restructured more simply, and what content might go on each page. I summarise my suggestions in writing and send a formal quote.

Emails, Twitter and Facebook again. I really should discipline myself to do this only once a day.

Write 9 short and sweet blog posts for a regular client that I interviewed the day before. She replies almost instantly with a couple of tiny tweaks. I make the changes and upload the first 4 blog posts. Her CMS system doesn’t allow scheduling, so I make a diary note to upload the rest (with images) over the coming days.

Do a bit of tweeting and Facebooking. Check my emails.

There’s a message from the fellow copywriter I interviewed for the next issue of the Write Right newsletter I put together each month for Fresh Business Thinking. I edit his answers slightly to fit the word count, and start thinking about the other 3 articles I need to write for them within the next two working days.

Walk across the park to the High Street, to pay in that cheque. It’s a lovely day, and I wish I was sitting on a sun-lounger reading a book, instead of being stuck to my Mac all day.

Emails again.

Hoorah! A long-standing client has come back to say he wants me to write the brochure I quoted for. That goes on the list for next week, together with another 5 web pages a new client wants me to edit, and an in-house social media training course I’m running in deepest Kent.

I also see a newsletter I wrote for a regular client has now been sent as scheduled, so I log in to her Constant Contact account and add it to the archive. Shame there’s no way to do that automatically. Perhaps I’ll tweet them to suggest it.

I start designing an invitation flyer for an upcoming event for another regular client. I’m missing some key information, so can’t get too far with it. Never mind, it’s not urgent. Not yet anyway.

I log off.

So, was that a typical day for me as a copywriter? Yes, pretty much. A bit of copywriting; a bit of training. A bit of progressing work in progress, a bit of developing work in the pipeline. A bit too much time on Twitter and Facebook, and a walk in the park. It’s not a bad life.

How was your day?

6 Responses to A day in the life of a copywriter

  1. James Coakes March 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Do you have a daily plan, Jackie? How do you keep yourself motivated to do the work and not waste time online or spend the afternoon out in the garden?

    • jackiebarrie March 29, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      I use a wall-chart to track the progress of projects from Approached > Briefed > Quoted > Approved > Ready to proceed > In progress > Invoiced. It gives me a picture, at-a-glance, of what my priorities are each day. I also have an ongoing ‘to do’ list for my own marketing – which just seems to get longer and longer!

      I find that the need to pay the mortgage is sufficient motivation to do the work. It seems to do the trick, as I’ve been self-employed for 11 years next week. Happy birthday to me!

  2. Vanessa April 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Hi Jackie,

    How did you get started in copywriting? Full time? Part time? Freelance? What was your end goal? Any tips for getting positions at online news/magazine sites writing a column? Thanks.

    • jackiebarrie April 2, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      Hi Vanessa,

      I knew I wanted to be a writer from about age 13. I qualified as a journalist and my first full-time writing job was at Freemans (Black skirt with two patch pockets. Material: 50% polyester, 50% cotton. Available in sizes 10 12 14 16. Please see size guides at the back of the catalogue. All garments washable.) I started freelancing in 2001 and now do training as well as copywriting.

      Most news/magazine sites are desperate for quality content; simply contact them to offer your articles/blogs. They may not pay you, but it’s good for your CV, helps demonstrate your expertise and raises your profile. Good luck.

Leave a Reply to James Coakes Click here to cancel reply.