When I first ventured into the world of content writing four years ago, I often got asked by my parents, family members, friends, neighbors, former classmates and teachers – you name it – about what a content writer does all day. Considering it wasn’t the most descriptive job title, I happily obliged to answer their questions.
But I’ve noticed that people immediately drift off from earth when I actually try to answer them. So after several Q and As and probably buckets of wasted saliva, I’ve learned to reduce my answer into just “I write all day”.
While that answer is true, it’s not the only thing content writers do. So if you’ve ever wondered what a content writer does aside from, well, the obvious, then I’ve got the answer. Below I’ll try to break down the job of a content writer, so you will know that I don’t just visit Facebook, Buzzfeed, BoredPanda, PopSugar, or Google News all day.
Disclaimer: Tasks may vary per writer, per company, amount of caffeine ingested, and number of sleeping hours enjoyed the previous night.
First stop, coffee.
The day can never start until I’ve had my morning coffee. No matter how uninspired, sleep-deprived, or just plain lazy I am, once I’ve inhaled and consumed the refreshing goodness of my coffee, I transform into a content writing superwoman. No exaggeration. Or I guess this is just caffeine talking.
Scheduling is key
I’m not the most organized person in the world, but I make sure everything is ready so my day won’t be too chaotic. My go-to applications are Google sheets for my editorial calendar and Wunderlist for Chrome for my daily to-do list. These apps are free and easy to use. Fortunately, I am not always snowed under so there’s not much scheduling to do. But there are times (and I’m glad they don’t happen that often) that I would like to add a few more days to the calendar just so I could accommodate and schedule more tasks for the month.
Research, research, research
You can’t write about what you do not know – when you’re a content writer, at least.
(Sometimes, writers write as a way to figure things out.) That’s why we make sure to make adequate research especially when dealing with a subject we’re not familiar with. And of course, it all starts with the mighty and all-knowing Google Search.
Once I have the information I need for the type of content I’ll be creating (i.e., all the whats, whys and hows of the topic, who I’m writing for, and other details), I sit down and write.
And with that comes the question, “How long does it take for you to write?” The answer: depends.
It always depends on the type and scope of a project (and yes, my mood!). Some days I stare at the blank page and blinking cursor for 30 minutes because despite having all the information I need, I just can’t seem to spit out the right words. Other obviously better days I finish my tasks without a hitch usually because I enjoy writing about the subject…or because I’m high (with coffee, of course!)
Also, in case you were wondering what type of stuff I usually write, here’s a list:
- Blogs (yep company blogs)
- Editorial Reviews (no, not the too-good-to-be-true reviews. I write factual, unbiased reviews of certain services. Or so I’d like to think.)
- Email marketing campaigns (I probably popped in your inbox and you just didn’t know it.)
- Website content (Homepage, About Me content, stuff like that)
- Social media posts (but such tasks are as rare as a unicorn)
Cleaning up the mess, a.k.a. editing
Oh how wonderful would it be if I wrote perfectly the first time each time! But I don’t. Hence, the need to edit and polish my work.
While I do have an editor who takes a look at my work, I don’t rely on him to clean up my mess. So after writing, I put on my nerdy glasses, tuck my hair in a bun, grab my reddest pen, and start catching and scratching errors.
No, really I just make revisions to my Google document by activating the Suggesting mode.
I can’t stress the importance of standing up and going to the loo (I was British in my past life) once in a while. Whether it’s to release the kraken or to sit down and contemplate life, going to the CR (Comfort Room for, ye know, Filipinos) is incredibly therapeutic. Trust me.
Conversations, creative or otherwise
Contrary to popular belief, writers aren’t always introverted and solitary creatures. Sure, there are times when I prefer to be left alone, especially when seriously at work, but I also appreciate some interruptions once in a while.
And by interruption, I don’t mean the sound of a co-worker howling like a cat in an imaginary concert. It’s the conversations – creative or otherwise – with fellow writers that I value. I’m extremely lucky to be working with other writers whom I share the same interests and quirks.
…so this thing called burnout
When you’re writing non-stop for hours, days, and weeks, the proverbial writer’s burnout can be inevitable.
Fortunately, I can quickly sense when I no longer have a fight left in me (Platten, Rachel. 2016) and give myself permission to walk away.
I give my mind a vacation by browsing through fashion blogs (like Whowhatwear.com and my friend’s Pensivepeanut.wordpress.com), parenting blogs (such as Babble.com and Romper.com), and listening to music (my favorite is musixmatch.com because I can sing along to songs. But I make sure that I don’t sing too loud lest I earn the ire of my fellow writers).
Oh, and yes, I also visit BoredPanda and Buzzfeed…sometimes.