At the end of 2019, I decided to leave my job as a lecturer. I was going through pretty bad anxiety and I felt it was the best thing to do at the time. 2020 was a confusing year, both in terms of the pandemic and my career. To be honest, I felt lost, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
Prior to that, I had dabbled in blogging a little, writing articles here and there about my experiences. So, when I came across a one-on-one blogging mentorship program online, I signed up in a heartbeat. I love writing and the thought of making a career out of it excited me. I got on the one-on-one call with popular YouTuber and blogger, Saloni Srivastava, and she shared some great advice on how I can get started as a blogger.
That’s when my journey began. I bought the domain name for my blog, designed a basic website, started writing blog posts regularly, and became more active on social media. Fast-forward 10 months and now, I’m a freelance content writer and blogger. Disclaimer: I don’t make as much money as I used to, for sure, but I enjoy what I’m doing, and I think there’s room for growth in the future.
If you’ve ever wondered how the life of a freelance writer and blogger looks like, allow me to share my experience with you. Here’s a quick run-through of a typical workday for me:
8 am: Wake up & make coffee
The first thing I do when I wake up is sluggishly walk to the kitchen and make a mug of some much-needed coffee! I enjoy my cuppa while reading a book or watching some recipe videos on YouTube. Once I’m thoroughly caffeinated, I make myself a quick breakfast. Usually, I have some oats with milk and honey, topped with sliced bananas. When I’m feeling lazy, I opt for an orange instead.
9 am: Meditate
This month, as part of my 21-day challenge, I’ve started meditating. After my shower, I sit on my couch, turn on a guided meditation on Headspace, and meditate for 10 to 15 minutes. Before I started meditating, I read that it’s best to go into the practice without too many expectations. The experience is different for everyone, in fact, it’s different every day. I’m just focusing on being consistent, and I trust that the results will follow over time.
9.30 am: Research & write articles for my freelance gigs
Nowadays, I write travel articles as part of my freelance work. So, I research the topics assigned to me and write about them. I’m mostly desk-bound for my work and at times, I get some shoulder pain as a result. Recently, I’ve started using the Pomodoro technique where I work for 25 minutes, take a break to stretch for 5 minutes, and repeat.
12 pm: Prep lunch
Around 11.30 am, I usually start to get hungry. I try to wrap up whatever I can, and then I start prepping my lunch. Sometimes I have leftovers from dinner that I just reheat and have for lunch. Otherwise, I prepare a quick meal such as fried rice or noodles. I’ll have my lunch while watching something on Netflix. After my meal, I try to gulp down some water and have a piece of fruit.
1.30 pm: Afternoon slump
Yep, it’s that much-dreaded post-lunch afternoon slump. I don’t really do my best writing in the afternoon, so I focus on other things instead. I’ve been trying to learn more about search engine optimisation (SEO) to increase traffic to my blog, so I dedicate around 15 to 20 minutes to read about that online. I also spend some time on social media engagement in the afternoon.
3 pm: Get back to research & writing
Around this time, I make myself a cup of green tea and get back to work. By now, I usually have the main points researched for my article and I spend some time writing it up. I also start looking for suitable pictures for the article.
5 pm: Teatime with the hubby
My husband usually comes back from work around this time. We have tea together, catch each other up on our day, and watch something on Netflix together for a bit. These days, we’ve been watching The Legends of Korra, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender.
5.30 pm: Go for a walk
If the weather is good, I try to go for a walk. Sometimes I go with my husband and we chat. If I go alone, I like listening to some music or a podcast. Right now, I’m hooked to The Ground Up Show hosted by Matt D'Avella.
6.30 pm: Prep dinner
After my walk, I gulp down some water and take a little break before getting started on dinner. Usually, my husband and I prep dinner together. He’s on making rice and sautéing duty, whereas I’m on food prep and throwing-stuff-into-the-pot duty. On days when we’re feeling tired or lazy, we order take-out. We try to limit this to once or twice a week. Our favourite take-out is Thai food, specifically pad kra pao from a nearby Thai restaurant.
7.30 pm: Dinner & Netflix
Finally, we sit down for dinner and watch another episode of whatever show we’re into at the time. Once we’re done, we wash up and clean the kitchen.
8.30 pm: Work on a blog post & unwind
I take a quick shower to freshen up and then, I work on a blog post for the week. I start by brainstorming ideas and looking up keywords. Once I identify a topic, I do some research and come up with a brief outline before I start writing. It usually takes me 2 to 3 days to complete a blog post. After an hour or so, I call it a day and I turn off my laptop.
Before bed, I call my loved ones and catch up with them. Then, I read a book, chat with my husband, and go to bed.
There are certainly pros and cons to freelancing and blogging. If this is something you wish to pursue, here are a few things to take into consideration.
Flexible schedule. You can more or less set your own work schedule and work the hours that suit you best.
Work from the comfort of home. No early morning commute and you get to work in your PJs (it’s optional, but I certainly do).
You can prep lunch at home and save money.
To some extent, you have the freedom to work on what excites you. Of course, you can’t turn down projects willy-nilly, but you can say ‘no’ to projects that don’t align with your goals.
Being a freelancer who works alone from home can get pretty lonely at times. I don’t have colleagues to chat or have lunch with. It has taught me to enjoy my own company, but I must admit, there are days when working alone at home takes a toll on your mental health. It’s important to challenge negative thoughts that may arise and stay connected with your loved ones.
When you’re completely in charge of your own schedule, being productive can be challenging. With no boss or superior to report to, you’re on your own to manage your time and deliver services promptly. You must be self-disciplined to work even when motivation eludes you.
Your income will fluctuate as a freelancer. Some months, you’ll land more gigs and make more money, and other months, you’ll have fewer gigs and make less money.
The last 10 months have certainly been one hell of a roller coaster ride! There have been ups and downs, breakthroughs and breakdowns, small wins and stumbling blocks, but overall I’m glad to have gone down this path. A few important lessons I’ve learned over the past few months include:
You don’t have to be productive 24/7. You’re allowed to take a break and not feel bad about it.
It’s good to aim for results, but slow down to enjoy the journey as well.
Just because you’re lonely, doesn’t mean you’re alone. It’s okay to reach out to your loved ones for support.
I hope this article doesn’t come off as completely self-indulgent. Instead, I hope it sheds some light on what a freelancer’s work-life looks like in case you’re interested to go down this path.
See you in the next blog post!