In this job description, a writing coach describes how she helps writers get published. Her career includes writing magazine articles, developing communications plans, advising companies on media relations — and coaching writers, of course!
Daphne Gray-Grant is self-employed in Vancouver as a writer, editor, and communications consultant. Here, she describes her job and offers a bit o’ career advice for aspiring freelance writers.
But first, a quip from a best-selling author:
“I don’t believe in writer’s block,” says Elmore Leonard. “I don’t know what that is. There are just certain little areas that I know I’m going to get through. It’s just a matter of finding a way.”
Self-employed freelance writers can’t afford to struggle with writer’s block. They have to be motivated when they sit at their desks, whether or not the Muse is on their shoulder. Here is how one freelance writer describes her job – and how she pays the bills.
Writing Coach Job Description – Helping Writers Get Published
“My business is called Gray-Grant Communications Inc, and I’m self-employed as a writer, editor and communications consultant,” says Gray-Grant. “I work with some clients face-to-face; with others, I work only by phone and/or email.”
This writing coach has a wide range of responsibilities, including:
- Writing stories, articles, websites
- Developing communications plans for businesses or organizations
- Advising companies on how to handle media relations
- Coaching other writers on how to improve their writing
How Much Money Does a Freelance Writer Make?
“I don’t think there’s such a thing as an ‘average’ salary in my line of work!” says Gray-Grant.
Note from Laurie: I earn more than $45,000 a year as a freelance writer and blogger. It takes time to build a writing career – but it’s definitely possible to earn a living as a writer!
The Best Parts of Working as a Writing Coach
“I love the freedom of working for myself — I don’t think I could ever go back to a traditional job again,” she says. “I like being able to set my own hours and my own goals.”
This writing coach also likes the variety of the work she does. “Sometimes I’m alone at my desk, at other times I’m teaching in front of a crowd, at still other times I’m working with a CEO to plan communications strategy,” she says. “I never have the chance to get bored!”
The Downside of a Freelance Writing Career
The major downside of my work is that sometimes I have way too much of it. That means working very long hours. The other thing I dislike is doing my own billing! I finally got myself a bookkeeper two years ago, and he’s a big asset, but I still do my own billing and I hate the paperwork! I know I should give this job to my virtual assistant but because I have to keep track of my own hours, that would be almost as much work as just doing it myself!
The Biggest Surprise About a Writing Career
Gray-Grant has two separate parts to her freelance writing and publishing business — the “real world” part (most of her clients are in her hometown of Vancouver, B.C.) and the “virtual world” (her online writing business at PublicationCoach.com).
“Neither side seems to know the other exists,” she says. “I don’t make a secret of either branch of my writing business, but when people find out, they’re often surprised that I wear two different hats — one as a writer/editor/consultant and another as a writing coach.”
Career Tips for Aspiring Freelance Writers
“I started my life working in the newspaper industry and had quite a senior job at a large metropolitan newspaper – I was the features editor,” says Gray-Grant. “I was accustomed to receiving a nice-sized paycheque every two weeks and had an excellent health care plan.
If you have a good job and want to work as a freelance writer, it can take some time to build up the clients you need to earn a good income. Make sure you’ve saved enough money in advance to cover this period — I’d say at least six month’s worth.”
Daphne Gray-Grant, of Gray-Grant Communications Inc, is the author of the popular book 8½ Steps to Writing Faster, Better (available only on her website). She also offers a newsletter called Power Writing. Subscribe by going to the Publication Coach.
To learn more working as a writer, read this job description of a Reader’s Digest web editor.
Do you have any questions or thoughts on a freelance writing career, or working in the publishing industry? Please comment below…