Whether you are just beginning your writing career or not, this question will pop up in the head sooner or later. Writing an article, how long should it take?
How much time is reasonable to write a freelance article?
Am I too slow? Or am I too fast? What is the reasonable time to finish 1,200 words?
Today I want to share my personal experience on this matter as well as give some data-based insights.
Freelance: How Long Does an Article Take to Write?
The simple answer – it depends. Several factors influence the time it might take one, such as:
- Writer’s experience;
- Writer’s expertise in the topic;
- Client’s requirements;
- Type of content;
- Word count.
The more experience you are in writing, the faster you can do it. At first, it took me significantly longer to complete a blog post. Experience allows researching more efficiently, using templates, and simply feeling more confident in your skills.
Expertise in the topic is another essential factor. The more you focus on a specific writing niche, the more you’ll learn about that, and the less research you’ll need. You’ll already have all the fundamental knowledge. But if you take on an article about something completely new for you, research time is going to significantly increase.
Clients’ requirements also differ. Some expect data-driven content; others want keyword-rich texts. These specifics will be much easier the more you do it.
Type of content is another essential factor. For example, listicles are usually much easier to write than in-depth long-reads. How-to guides are easier for some writers than opinion pieces and vice versa.
As for the word count, it is obvious – the longer the post is going to be, the more time it will take.
I’m only starting freelance writing, how long 1000 word article would take me? – You might ask.
According to my experience, the writing of 1,000 will take about 3-4 hours for a beginner.
As for advanced writers, it takes about 1-2 hours.
Longer content pieces, which are about 2,000-5,000 words can take beginners up to 20-25 hours. Experienced authors can do it in 3-9 hours approximately.
But by writing I mean only actually typing the text. And it is important to count other things that get into completing a quality piece.
When you are only starting your career in freelance writing, it is easy to get swept away with pumping out content. You have all those worries about how much having a blog would cost and how long should you work a day. But my advice is to always put preference on quality over quantity.
First of all, whether you are writing for yourself or the client, the text is going to affect your reputation. If it is a low-quality filler piece, the client might never return with a new order. And on your blog, it won’t get any traffic.
Secondly, for every article you do, you only need to write once. And after that, it can drive traffic forever. If it is a truly useful and interesting piece, it is worth investing your time in.
What Else Goes into Completing an Article?
As mentioned above, the typing part is far from being the only one in the whole process. Here is what it takes me from the start to the posting point:
- Coming up with an idea;
IDEA! If you are doing a gig for a client, the first step is irrelevant as you already get the topic. If not, the time depends on the person. You can look into what competitors do or search for what the audience is looking for to get some ideas.
Research can be one of the most time-consuming things. Sometimes it might take even longer than typing. It only depends on the subject. If you have knowledge of it and there is no need to put a huge list of sources, it takes about 1/3 of the typing time. For 1,000 words it can be around 40-60 minutes approximately.
But if you are not knowledgeable of the subject, you need to cover the basics, which add 30-60 minutes. Also, if you need to find recent data, studies, and statistics, it will take significantly more time. For example, if a client wants only credible and peer-reviewed sources for the piece, the research might take about 2 hours and more.
When writing for your own blog, you also need to conduct keyword research. Depending on the software you use, it can take 20-30 minutes.
Outlining is pretty simple usually and takes about 10 minutes for me. I usually do it after research because all the information I need is in my head already. An outline is a basic plan of what you are going to type. It makes following the word count easier and makes your text cohesive and organized.
Proofreading takes about 15-30 minutes when done right. When I was a beginner I even used to read my pieces out loud so that I can evaluate the flow better.
Editing. How long should article edits take freelance writing beginners? I’d say up to an hour. By editing I mean:
- Check your grammar and style once more via tools like Grammarly;
- Checking keywords and links to be in place;
- Don’t forget checking keyword density, readability, and uniqueness;
- Formatting, fonts, subheading, etc;
- Finding and adding visuals (pictures or videos).
After editing the piece is ready to be sent or published, all work is done.
So, how long does it take to write an article? realistically, with all the work included, a 1,000-word article may take a beginner up to 10 hours of work if it is a quality piece with additional research. And for an advanced author, the time is about 5-8 hours.
When giving a client deadline suggestion, remember that you won’t be working 10 hours a day without breaks. It is not healthy. So it is better to take 2 days minimum for such an order.
How to Write Faster
Every author has unique capabilities. Take famous writers’ daily word count for example:
Hemingway did about 500 words a day. Stephen King does 2,000 and not a word less. Tom Wolfe, on the other hand, could write as little as 135 words a day.
It depends. There is no ultimate answer as to how much is “normal” to finish a day. When thinking about the future income, consider the rates you are charging as well. On average, content writers on Upwork earn $15-80 per hour. And as content writing is one of the most popular freelance occupations, one might feel pressured to do more.
No matter if you write for your own blog or blogging for business, remember about quality. And also that you need to sleep reasonable hours. And there are some things you might do to write faster:
- Create a schedule for your blog and research topics beforehand;
- Stick to one or two niches to increase your expertise and spend less time on research;
- Write without critiquing and edit after;
- Put the headline and SEO to the last stage to not lose focus;
- Create outline templates for all types of content you do;
- Always have a clear objective for each piece you do – what you want to say and what you want the audience to do (follow a link, subscribe, leave email, read more, etc);
- Write regularly.
The main secret is….that there is no secret at allVasy Kafidoff
There is no magic secret to doing it as fast as Quicksilver. But the more experience you get, the easier it will be. You’ll learn how to research effectively, how to collect data, and how to formulate your thoughts better.
Good luck with your writing gigs, my friend 😉
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