As a Freelance writer, structured work days are essential to staying focused and productive. Yet structure is nothing without a little help from my favorite writing tools and apps.
Without further ado, here’s a glimpse into a day in the life of a freelance writer featuring my top 7 writing essentials.
I set my alarm for the same time every day, whether a workday or the weekend. This is so my circadian rhythm is consistent, making it easier for me to get out of bed in the mornings.
Writing essential #1: Spotify
I need music to get my creative juices flowing, to keep me focused and inspired. I even have a “Get to Work!” playlist.
Writing essential #2: Coffee
Coffee is the signal to my brain that the work day is about to begin. My method of brewing (french press) and coffee beans have stayed the same since college. I use this french press and these seasonal Starbucks coffee beans for my perfect cup.
Food is ready, coffee is poured– time for the news. I check my personal email, online news sources, Twitter, and Google Trends for daily updates in politics, business, and lifestyle news. This keeps me up-to-date with the trends and gives me ideas for new content.
9 AM – 12 PM
Once I’m fueled and in-the-know, I power up my laptop and open up a few tabs: 1. my work email, 2. an Excel spreadsheet listing all my ongoing projects, 3. my website so I can analyze after-hours activity, 4. the Freelance websites where I find many of my jobs, and on Fridays 5. my affiliate counts so I can analyze weekly activity. I then delve into my ongoing projects, keyword research, and content outlines.
1. Ongoing Projects
Writing Essential #3: Microsoft Excel
I use an Excel spreadsheet to track the projects I am currently working on. This spreadsheet includes the date I received the project and date it is due, who or what company the project is for, and how many hours I should be spending on the project per day. I keep another spreadsheet just for recording payments I receive for my projects for legal purposes.
2. Content Research
Writing Essential #4: Google Trends
3. Content Outlines
Writing Essential #5: Moleskin notebook + pen
Though there are great apps for making the perfect outline, I prefer traditional pen and paper for my blog outline. I swear by Moleskin products and use this notebook with this pen for a neat outline every time.
12 – 1 PM
A mid-day break is important for me because it helps me divide my work in half and keep my energy up throughout the day. During my mid-day break, I usually have a second cup of coffee and lunch before taking my dog for a walk.
1 PM – 5 PM
1. Draft Content
Writing Essential #6: iA Writer
I use the iA Writer app to draft content. This is the perfect drafting software for me because the layout is simple and distraction-free. The service does require a monthly fee, but you can get a two-week free trial on their website to see if the app is right for you.
2. Edit Content
Writing Essential #7: Grammarly
For editing, I use the Grammarly app to check my work for spelling and grammatical errors. Another powerful service Grammarly offers is the Grammarly Plagiarism Checker. This service is fantastic for content writers since it checks for duplicate content not only against Academic databases but also against billions of online sources. This makes it easy to check for duplicate content, which is a factor Google considers when deciding how to rank your content.
3. Submit Due Projects
Using my Excel spreadsheet to track, I submit any projects that are due before the end of my workday. Often I will forgo drafting and editing content for my blog if a project due that day requires a bit more attention.
When I’m on a roll, I can work into the late hours of the evening but I’ve learned it’s important to know when to punch out for the night. I save my evenings for cooking, reading, and spending time with family. That way, I’m in bed by 11 PM for my full 8 hours of sleep.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life as a freelance writer featuring 7 writing essentials. Leave a comment and let me know what your day looks like. Happy writing!