Category Archives: Day Job

The writer’s day job

Everybody has to have one, right?


Well, having worked in various crummy places, doing some ugly manual work in the form of anything from cleaning, to maid work, to shop work, I’m finally doing something that actually uses my skills.

I am a freelance transcriber.

‘Hark! What is a transcribermidooodle?!’ I hear you cry!

Well, a transcriber is someone who listens to an audio file of a meeting – could be an interview, a grievance hearing, a disciplinary meeting, could be anything. Mostly, it’s for big businesses and corporate banks, mostly in the HR sectors. It’s the transcriber’s job to write up the minutes of that meeting in a clear, readable script in the style of the client’s choosing, for a fee. The kind of minutes I provide at the moment are verbatim, meaning word for word.

The company I work for are pretty awesome. They’re international and have freelancers from all over the world producing transcripts for their client base, ranging all the way from the UK to New Zealand. ‘Freelancing’ means that I am self-employed, and the work comes based on demand. Whilst it isn’t by any means a reliable income, it’s the perfect job for a writer. It means that I have time to pursue my writerly interests and complete novels to my heart’s content, without feeling like I’m sacrificing anything.

Freelancers are risk takers, essentially; people who aren’t afraid of uncertainty if it gives them the freedom to express themselves creatively. For me, that’s the most important factor; as they say, never live to work, only work to live. Nobody on their death bed ever said, ‘Gosh, I just wish I’d spent more time in that office.’

Besides, transcribing isn’t easy – it’s an actual, genuine skill unique to writers. How many people’s hands could stand writing up to 20,000 words on a busy day? Not many. But for me, typing is akin to novel-writing, minus the creativity – it’s technical writing, but somehow it still has that therapeutic effect on me that some people get from painting, or needlework.

I enjoy, and have always enjoyed, the process of filling a blank page with words.

So, in a nutshell, that’s how I make my dough. For now, anyway…*eagerly awaits big-publisher-person to smash the door in and shower me with money*