The first time that I watched Sex and the City and saw Carrie Bradshaw work as a writer in New York City, I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do when I got older. Fast-forward many years, I’m thrilled to say, I am a writer and my younger self would be seriously impressed. The only thing I’m missing in my life is Carrie’s stunning NYC brownstone apartment, but I’ll get there one day.
What kind of a writer am I, you ask? Well, even if you’re not wondering I’m going to tell you anyways. For starters, I’ve been working as a freelance writer for about four years now and that’s in addition to working as a full-time writer for Daily Hive and as Style Nine to Five’s managing editor! Yes, it’s busy, but when you love what you do, it never really feels like work.
My schedule is never the same: Each week and day varies depending on whether I have events to attend for work, which freelance stories I’m working on, and what additional projects I’m taking on. And while my full-time job is always consistent, my freelance work is what is constantly changing, which is why I do try to maintain a fairly consistent schedule so I can always stay on track of things. All that said, here’s a general idea of what my average day looks like for me as a freelance writer.
6:30 AM: Wake Up
Let’s get one thing clear, I’m not a morning person. But since my days are always jam-packed, I have to maximize my time. I make breakfast, coffee, and get ready for the day. This always includes taking a look at my calendar to see what deadlines are coming up, and what needs to be done for the day outside of my regular work routine.
7:30 AM: Office
My workday begins at 8:30, but I like to try to get into the office before that so I can get organized. Not only do I use this time to go through work for the day, but I’ll also use my free time to email with freelance clients regarding pitches, plan out upcoming story ideas, and source images for stories. But once the newsroom is ready to begin for the day, all my focus is on that, so freelance work is put on hold.
1:00 PM: Lunch Break
When it comes time to take a break, I like to fully take a break from work. My favourite thing to do, if the weather is nice, is taking a walk to a local coffee shop, and taking a stab at my personal projects. I won’t have my laptop with me, so I won’t be getting any actual writing done, but I do like to use this time to check in on my freelance projects, which I can do with my phone. This might be sending a revision to an editor, taking notes on feedback I was given, doing some research for future stories, or even surfing the web for inspiration for future stories.
What’s great about writing is story inspiration is all around you, for example, earlier this week I was in Shoppers Drugmart and saw a beauty brand had launched its own line of sweat-proof makeup. Seeing this led me to pitch a freelance story on sweat-proof beauty products, which the editor loved. So if you’re thinking about writing, always keep your eyes open for story inspo, it’s seriously everywhere.
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM: Back to Work
After my break, it’s back to work for the day. I’m typically in the office until around 6 pm and then once I’m done I’m off to media events for the night. Often it’s events for work, but through freelancing, I also get to attend fun events more tailored towards beauty and fashion which are really fun. During this time, I often get to check out new collections, product launches, networking events, cocktail hours or dinners. During an average week I attend 3 to 4 events, sometimes there are multiple in one night.
At media events, I have the opportunity to chat with publicists and brands. I truly love this aspect of the job because it’s a great way to network and meet people in the industry.
9:00 PM: Work Part 2, AKA Freelance Time
Once I get home, I make dinner, if I didn’t eat at an event, and then dive back into work. I’ll use this time to work on any freelance articles I have and work on content for Style Nine to Five. I’m definitely a night owl and I find this time my most productive, so I really utilize this time to get as much stuff done on my seemingly never-ending to-do list. I typically like to try to be finished work by 11, so I can use the rest of my night to unwind and focus on self-care. This typically includes a face mask and unwinding with Netflix.
Even though my days are packed, I love every second of it. Each day is always different, and some days even though I’m up until 2 am finishing freelance work, I still manage to go to bed with a smile on my face. Being able to work as a full-time writer, and also as a freelancer on the side allows me to take on multiple projects, and write about topics that I’m truly passionate about. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
By Ainsley Smith, Toronto, @ainsleysmithy