Over the past year, many people have started to work remotely. And as offices open back up, the desire to keep working from home lingers. If you want to leave your office job and work from home, becoming a content writer is a good option.

I’ve been a freelance content writer off and on for over five years and consistently for about two and a half years. Of course, every writing career is different, so I can only share my experience.

But I think it’s important to read about various experiences before you start this line of work. It’s still a relatively new industry, so you can’t always find a standard job description.

So for all of the new and aspiring content writers (or anyone else who’s curious), here’s what your work may look like.

Getting started

The first step to working as a content writer is to get some writing samples. In most cases, you’ll need to provide examples of your work to get a gig.

I was lucky and had been blogging since 2013, so I had plenty of writing samples. If you don’t have a blog, you can start one on Medium or another site. Then, you can write about topics that interest you to help you stay motivated.

If you want to write about lots of things, create samples for each category. For example, I write about music, personal finance, and business/career development.

While I do write about other things, I focus on those main topics. That way, I can become an expert in those areas. If a client needs an expert legal writer, they’ll need to hire someone else.

Look for work

Once you have a few writing samples, you can start looking for work. The easiest way to do this is to go to writing job boards, like:

  • ProBlogger
  • BloggingPro
  • Freelance Writing Gigs
  • Remote(dot)co
  • Mediabistro

You can also find writing gigs on Indeed and other more general job boards. And while they get a bad name, freelance platforms like UpWork and Fiverr can be a great way to get started.

Now, you may need to take work for low pay. It sucks to not make much from writing, but it will help you get started. After you get a bit of experience, you can look for higher-paying gigs

Contract or pitch?

I’ve found there are a couple of ways you can find work as a freelance content writer. Job boards let you find a lot of contract gigs, either one-off or consistent ones. Once you get a few consistent gigs, you can spend more time writing and less time applying.

But some writers prefer to focus on pitching themselves and their content. You can pitch yourself to publications that work with writers in your chosen niche. Or you can research companies and people who may need your services, and you can pitch to them.

I like to spend more of my time writing since I KNOW I’ll earn money. But some writers need a break from that, so they like to spend more time pitching. Consider what you like better to help direct your career.

Structuring my day

If you start content writing on the side of a day job or while in school, you’ll have a lot to juggle. I did both for at least a few months, and it took a lot of organization.

But now that I do this full-time, I don’t have as much to worry about. I’m able to structure my day. Every day is different, but here’s an example:

I wake up at 7:15am, get dressed, start the day’s Instagram story, and get some water.

By 8am, I get to my laptop to start my work for the day. If I have an edit requests, I’ll tackle those first so that they aren’t hanging over me for the day.

I try to write for at least a few hours in the morning. If I get hungry, I may take a quick snack break. But I usually try to wait until 11 or 11:30am to eat a meal.

Next, I’ll eat a quick lunch. Sometimes, I will prepare pasta salad on Sunday night. Occasionally, I may have leftovers from the last night. Whatever works.

I give myself half an hour or so to eat and take a break. If I relax for much longer, I find it harder to get back into writing. But I know I need some time to not work.

I’m back to writing by around noon, and I’ll do as much as I need to reach my income goal for the day. On a good day, I may be done around 1pm. At worst, I may write until 2 or 2:30pm.

Now, I can take a longer break and maybe eat a snack if I’m hungry. At this point, I’ll see how I’m feeling energy-wise and either take a nap or move on to side projects.

Maybe I’ll write a Medium story, post and/or engage on Instagram, or practice flute. I will do this for another couple of hours so that I can have plenty of downtimes later.

If I took a nap, then I’ll do more work later in the afternoon or evening to balance everything out.

At about 5:30 or 6, I’ll start to get dinner ready. Since I live with my parents, that either means helping my dad cook, or I’ll go pick up food to go.

From about 7 to 8:30pm, I like to relax when I can. I’ll watch YouTube videos or listen to music.

Then, I’ll take a bath or shower and get ready for bed. I might relax some more after my shower, and I try to go to sleep between 10:15 and 10:45pm.

Your day will probably look different. And that’s okay! Do what you need to do to get everything done.

FAQs About Life as a Content Writer

How do you get paid?

I get paid per word or per article based on a per-word rate. In my experience, most writers get paid like this, but some clients do pay per hour.

How do you receive payment?

My clients all pay me through PayPal, either on a set schedule or when I send them an invoice. Once or twice a week, I’ll transfer the money to my bank account.

What’s the best thing about being a content writer?

Definitely the flexibility. If I get sick, have an appointment, or something else comes up, I can move my schedule around (without missing deadlines, of course).

What’s the worst thing about being a content writer?

Probably vague briefs and feedback from clients. It can lead to edits that would have been avoided with more clarification. I’ve come to ask for clarification when I have questions.

Can you do this as a full-time employee?

Yes! If you don’t want to freelance, you can look for full-time positions as a content writer.

How much money do content writers make?

It really depends on the writer and their career. Some writers make a little more than minimum wage, while others make six figures.

In 2020, I worked about 12–15 hours a week and made more than I made working full-time as a bank teller two years earlier. This year, writing closer to 25 hours a week, I’m projected to almost double my income.

Do you need a specific degree to be a content writer?

While it may help to have a degree in communications, marketing, or English, it’s not necessary. If you want to specialize in a certain niche, having a degree in that area can help.

But as long as you can research and write well, you can find work as a content writer.