Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Nov-Dec 2018

Floating free

Updated Feb 09, 2019 11:30am
A day in the life of Taniya Hasan.

"So what do you do at home all day?” inquires everyone who discovers I quit a high-pressure job as the Head of Content at a leading digital agency in order to blog and freelance. I take a deep breath and dismantle my pre- and post-resignation routine to satiate their very sub-continental hunger to pry. Most of them struggle or pretend to understand, while some slip onto the tangent of a ‘stable kamayi’ and how great it is. It is, but not at the expense of your mental health. Before I give an insight into my current life of Om, let’s start off with the past.

Being Head of Content means that every day you have a bajillion-and-a-half brands screaming out your name from all four corners of the world. You feel like a mother of six kids (all of the same age). They are all important, they all need attention and they all want it NOW! On a daily basis, your brain feels like a blender filled with tomatoes whirring at full speed without the lid on. At the end of the day, your brain turns into tomato purée prepared half-heartedly by an amateur with a God complex. Half of it is on the roof, the other half on the walls. You get the drill.

Ironically, as a freelancer, my life and work are much more organised and I am much more in control of the work I churn out. Weird right? How can a freelancer’s life be more organised than a person doing the nine-to-six routine every day? After spending close to a decade in advertising, I have realised that, one, when it comes to copywriting, the client is the client and the creative agency and two, you can defend your work but you are wasting your time and energy (RIP granola bar).

As someone with anxiety, dealing with last minute changes, seeing your original work slaughtered at the altar of “jingle main brand name ziada daal dayn” and receiving briefs at the eleventh hour start taking a toll on your mental health. Your creativity is on a leash at all times and while you swallow your pride in a boardroom by holding tightly onto your pen, it’s CODE RED in your brain. Think shutters going down, people jumping over other people to get to the escape hatch, food splattered over the walls and deafening alarms overpowering the sound of windows shattering. Congratulations! Your anxiety has hit the roof and you are officially in the dreaded flight mode.


Currently, I am involved in a buffet of projects and the variety is where the beauty of freelancing is. I am working as a scriptwriter and art director for a video project and as an account manager for a small IT start-up (my clients are in Australia and South Africa). I also manage my own blog and act as a freelance article and storywriter for anyone who thinks I can write something people would like to read.


As a freelancer, I make sure (because I feel I owe it to myself now) that all these issues are discussed before a project commences. Freelancing has given me the gift of gatekeeping. As a freelancer, I have the freedom to engage only with projects that give me more creative space and are less rigid when it comes to timelines and creative differences. All this translates into power which leads to confidence, which leads to better work quality.

Currently, I am involved in a buffet of projects and the variety is where the beauty of freelancing is. I am working as a scriptwriter and art director for a video project and as an account manager for a small IT start-up (my clients are in Australia and South Africa). I also manage my own blog and act as a freelance article and storywriter for anyone who thinks I can write something people would like to read.

My morning starts rather ritualistically as I drag myself out of bed at around 11 and saunter into the kitchen to make tea. As the caffeine serenades my brain and my heart, I scroll through my emails. Many are from my client in Australia (thankfully my other client is in South Africa, which is three hours behind us). This means that when I go to sleep, everything has been put to bed, all tucked in and cosy. As for the client in Australia, they start at two in the morning (my time), so oh boy!

While the writing projects don’t take up much time (I have been romancing the keyboard since I was 18), my work as an account manager and blogger take a major chunk of my day. As an account manager, my main job is to communicate with and take briefs from clients and then decode them for the designer/website developer in Karachi. As the liaison person between two parties living in different continents, this is a little time-consuming and to be honest, a little exhausting. I was not involved in web development so closely before so it’s new for me and I give myself reading homework to understand what the client really requires. Needless to say, I am learning so many new things and my brain feels like a little girl in the Barbie aisle.


More than a way of earning money, I see freelancing as an opportunity to rummage through the market and see what it has to offer to writers. My previous nine-to-six routine made me way too comfortable with what I had and did not give me enough time to explore other options.


My blog is my heart and soul and I want nothing but the best to go on it. Losing my good years to acne, I started blogging my journey to help women as frustrated with their skin as I used to be three years ago. It was then that I took the organic route and haven’t looked back since. My blog takes a good chunk of time because taking aesthetically-pleasing pictures is hard and Photoshop and I are not exactly friends. I am working on a post template for my blog which is taking me eons to finish and every day, I make sure I take out at least an hour at night before Netflix to do this. (There is a reason why my mother thinks she sees my face less now than when I had a nine to six job.)

Apart from all this madness, I am involved in a video project as a scriptwriter and art director. Here, my job involves writing scripts and coming up with ideas about which props should be used, where the shoot should take place, the time and mood of the video, et al. As most of my work is online, I hardly have to step out except when a shoot is scheduled or one of my stories requires me to interview someone. This week, I had to do more outdoor hours because of the shoot but otherwise, my schedule is very comfortable for my introverted soul.

More than a way of earning money, I see freelancing as an opportunity to rummage through the market and see what it has to offer to writers. My previous nine-to-six routine made me way too comfortable with what I had and did not give me enough time to explore other options.

At this point, I am not sure if this break is permanent or temporary but I am glad that, for a change, I go to sleep without the stress of meeting a deadline and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s stuck in a bad death metal concert. Plus, I actually have the time and energy to do things for myself, such as working on my skincare blog or teaching or enrolling myself for short courses etc.

It’s like I was walking on a chessboard, all mechanical and calculated and one fine day, I decided to jump into the ocean without knowing if I could swim or not. Life update: I’m floating just fine!

Taniya Hassan is a freelance writer.