Nerds and Words

Nerds and Words Content Writer

Diary of a content writer: writing as a way of living

I never thought I could earn my living through writing. Then I became a content writer.


For me, writing was more like a hobby, a little something on the side to keep your mind off of things. Little did I know that I could, in fact, turn this hobby into a full-time job. Then, one day, I became a content writer. Just like that. Now here I am, living my dream. The kind of dream that turns you into a cynical creature because it’s just too good to be true and you don’t want to share this kind of joy with anybody else. 


This is why, whenever my friends ask me what it’s like to be a copywriter or a content writer, I tell them that it’s mostly writing about safety footwear and protective clothing. But I do realize that selfishness isn’t the way to go and that many of you are genuinely interested in the little things that make this profession so unique and challenging.


Whether, at some point, you wished to take this hobby to the next level or you were simply curious about where the little stories making up the newsletters, social media posts or ads that you encounter daily come from… here is a day in the life of a content writer:


9 a.m.: I get to the office in time, a cup of fresh coffee in my hand, a bag on my shoulder- just like you see in movies. My colleagues seem to be in a good mood and ready for a productive brainstorming session. It’s what we do when we’re dealing with bigger projects and it’s arguably the best part of our day. Okay, maybe the second-best, after the coffee break.


We’ve picked up some Swedish habits and now we need fika to get us through the day. You know, that daily ritual involving sweets, pastry and a good cup of coffee enjoyed next to your teammates, as you zoom out and share ideas, insights and useful resources without any kind of external, work-related pressure. It’s really about trying to be productive as much as you can, whether you’re working or not. It’s what keeps the wheels in motion inside an advertising agency. You should try it yourself!


Aaand here we go!


10 a.m.: Turning on my laptop to check today’s briefs, so that I can get an idea of how my day is going to look like. Hmm, I need to write some blog content for a wide-format printing agency. And, since it’s Monday, I also have a Facebook post for one of our “regulars” planned. I’m going to start with this one, easiest things first, to warm up the creative muscle.


10:30 a.m.: Doing a bit of research into wide-format printing. Subcategory: digital die-cutting. I’m racking my brains and yet nothing comes out. I’m navigating from one blog to another, I feel like a traveling salesman, except I’m not selling anything just yet, only prospecting the market.


10:50 a.m.: The “AHA!” moment. Apparently, I’ve been searching in all the wrong places. What if I showed to the potential clients of this printing business exactly how this die-cutting thing works? If they’re anything like me, these guys wouldn’t bother reading about technical stuff, equipment and so on. No, they want something familiar, something they can understand and relate to. Enter: YouTube die-cutting tutorials.

11:40 a.m.: I’m stuck inside this internet bubble and it doesn’t seem like I’ll be able to get out of there anytime soon. Please send help. I’ve been watching too many DIY vlogs and tutorials to get a sense of how die-cutting works and now I’m addicted. Binging hard on that kind of content. Because let’s face it: it’s addictive. I’ve just spent over 45 minutes watching people cutting stuff and I’m not even bored yet. But I find solace in knowing I did it all in the name of great content.


At this point, you may be asking yourself: “Where has your boss been the entire time?”


Is he watching behind my shoulder? Is he nudging me back into what I am supposed to be doing? Well, not exactly. He’s keeping his distance, looking for inspiration God knows where- in the lesser-explored corners of the World Wide Web.


Or maybe he’s watching The Office stealthily, while his mind is wandering around, on the dreadful realm of the deadlines. Or exploring the vast plains of creativity, in an unconscious attempt to figure out better formulations for a campaign that has already been sent to the client. You know, as one does after getting into a fight. We go home and think of a thousand things we could’ve said better.


But the best thing about being a copywriter is that you can actually put these ideas to good use, even after the fighting’s done. Just write them down- you never know when you’ll find the opportunity to turn these little boulders of coal into a shiny diamond.


12:00 p.m.: Okay, down to work now. Research has proven edifying and I feel inspired. Many people are asking how us, members of the creative industry, stay inspired, especially when our jobs depend on it. Well, inspiration doesn’t just come at some point, you have to constantly trigger and channel it. For me, the lucky formula for inspiration is 99% research and 1% changing your mindset and looking at things from a new perspective.


1:35 p.m.: The blog post for the printing agency is finally done. I’m sending it over to my colleagues for proofreading, I’m waiting for the first round of internal feedback so I can do some minor adjustments and I’m off to lunch. 


Wait, what? It’s 2 p.m. and all you did was writing a blog post?




It’s 2 p.m. and I did some research, learned about a completely new topic, got to understand it and refined all this newly-acquired knowledge into a blog post. I now have a comprehensive collection of industry-related articles that we’re going to benefit from the next time we’ll have to write about large-scale printing, digital die-cutting and so on. I’ve written and rewritten things, I made everything sound good and I managed to turn one of the most boring topics in the universe into a shareable, enjoyable one that’s now worth your precious time.


There are no boring subjects, only disinterested minds. – G. K. Chesterton




There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers. – H. L. Mencken 


Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Likewise- creating great pieces of content is very time-consuming. Even when you’re desperately trying to get it over with. Keep this in mind the next time you’re working on your thesis. Constraints have indeed the magical quality of stimulating creativity but time constraints are not that fun, trust me.


2 p.m.: Lunch with my colleagues. Exchanging some ideas, discussing some campaigns. Or simply staring at each other in complete silence, depending on how tired and tense we are. The important thing is that one look is all it takes to understand what mood everybody’s into and we’re all respectful of that.


2.45 p.m.: Refresh, refresh and… New projects coming my way. This time for a fancy cake shop. I receive this folder with 30 pictures that I’m going to use for my product descriptions. These cakes and candy bars are mindblowing. My mouth is watering and the plain thought of writing about all these goodies leaves me paralyzed: how am I going to finish this task when all I want to do is download those products directly onto my plate and eat them?


I’m checking out the products, there are a lot of unfamiliar names among them. I’m trying to track down their origin and find the original recipes to draw my inspiration from there. As their story becomes clearer in my head, I start thinking about Christmas. I can already see that traditional decor, with a nativity scene, except that instead of the characters there are cakes. Cakes in the shapes of all the characters. Oh, Lord, give me strength!…


These guys won me over the moment I realized they included Bûche de Noël in their offer (a traditional French dessert made during the winter holidays). I honestly don’t know how am I supposed to act professionally and keep my cool with all this sweetness on my screen…


At least I know that being empathetic won’t be an issue this time.


For this task, walking in the customer’s shoes for a while won’t be the most difficult thing to do. Each cake is a story in itself, so telling it in the best way possible won’t be a problem. It would have been easier if I got to taste them first but that’s fine. I’ll do my best anyway.


As I write the first draft for a couple of these products, I feel just like one of those privileged visitors of Charlie’s chocolate factory. Except my golden ticket hasn’t granted me full access to the whole experience- it only allows me to stare from a distance, as I comfort myself with the thought of the hummus that awaits me back home.


And it’s finally 5 p.m.  What’s it that I hear? The hubbub of the infamous rush hour, getting to me through the thick walls of the office building. At the end of a day when I’ve been everything for everyone, from a large print technician and couture cake connoisseur to a social media specialist, I turn back into myself with the simple act of putting my coat on. Suddenly, I’m none of these things anymore- I’m just a regular student rushing to the evening classes. I’m just a lone commuter, whose thoughts wander somewhere, far away. What’s tomorrow gonna bring? What am I gonna be? Dungeon master, HR professional, online personal trainer? There are hundreds of skills that I have to master in order to do my job, hundreds of fields that I need to get acquainted with. Each day is a new challenge, a new learning opportunity. 


Being a content writer is no easy job. But however hard it gets, I always find solace in knowing that somewhere, at some point, a customer’s experience is better, warmer and more straightforward thanks to me. At the end of each day, I know that I’ve written something I would have loved to read myself on a website or in a brochure. This is the thought that keeps on pushing me forward and also the highest reward a content writer could aspire for.