When you take on a freelance writing assignment, you usually have two broad goals: to complete the work quickly and to ensure it meets the client’s requirements. Sometimes these goals seem in opposition to each other because if you hurry, you are more likely to turn in substandard work. However, there are ways of meeting both goals and keep earning more money.
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Tips For Completing Your Freelance Writing Assignments Quickly
The reason you focus on completing freelance writing assignments quickly is to meet deadlines and to move on to the next project sooner, so that you can earn more money. If you have a project with a flat rate, this becomes even more important. You are going to be earning the same amount of money whether you spend one hour or five hours on it. However, your hourly rate drops as you take more time.
I have always been a fast writer, but I’ve learned how to increase my time even more to get more work done in a day. One way I accomplish this is by thinking about the article or assignment while doing other things. I’m putting non-writing time to use to speed up my productivity when I sit down and write.
For instance, you may be given a broad subject with the expectation that you will narrow it down to one topic. You can consider the various angles and ideas while you are driving to a meeting or cooking dinner. Once you have an angle, begin to formulate an outline in your head. You will want to write it down as soon as you can, but it’s amazing what you can recall later from memory when you sit down to write.
For many people, writing the opening sentence or paragraph can be the most difficult part. Try crafting this in your head while you do other tasks. Many times, your brain is more creative when it isn’t under pressure.
Another tip to help you speed up the process is to use a tape recorder app on your phone to record ideas. You can refer back to them later when you are ready to write.
Use time spent waiting in line or for appointments to do research. Look up information on your tablet or smartphone and bookmark those sites that you will use in your research. When you sit down to write, you can move along much faster.
When you sit down to write, do just that. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar as you create the first draft. Focus on getting your thoughts on paper. Many times, self-editing stifles your creativity and it takes you twice as long to write something.
Practice makes perfect, and this not only pertains to how well you write but how quickly. Time yourself as you write with the goal of beating your previous time. If you incorporate these tips, you will see your productivity improve.
Meeting Client Expectations
So, now you know how to write fast, but you don’t want to write junk. You have to create an assignment that meets or exceeds your client’s expectations. You may wonder if that is possible when you focus on writing quickly.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, you may find your writing gets even better as you learn how to do more non-writing tasks while being physically active. Writing content that satisfies your client is just as important as completing the work quickly, and these tips will tell you how to accomplish that goal.
First, make sure you understand the assignment before you begin. You can waste a lot of valuable time redoing an assignment because you misunderstood an important detail. Write everything down about the assignment. If you are talking to the client over the phone or in person, you may want to record the conversation. Just make sure you get their permission.
Send your client an email with the details. This allows them to make any changes or clarify a missed point before you begin.
Some common questions you want to ask in all assignments include the following:
- Deadline – is this for the final draft or a first draft with time for revisions?
- Audience – who are you writing to?
- Speaker – as a ghostwriter, you would need to know who you are writing for
- Person – are you writing from first, second or third person
- Tone – should it be formal or casual
- References – find out if the client wants references included from your research
- Length – how many words?
These questions are important regardless of what you are writing. In addition, you will have other questions specific to the type of writing or subject. Research the topic before you accept the project or begin writing to determine if you will have other questions.
Ask for specific feedback. Find out what the client liked about your work and what could be approved. This is an important step whether the client accepted the assignment or not. It becomes even more essential if you plan to work with them again. As you complete more projects for this client, you will become more adept at understanding what they want and will have fewer revisions.
One of the most important factors for meeting a client’s expectations is turning in your work on or before the deadline. You need to understand the scope of the project before you agree to the timeline. You should allow a little extra time in case something unexpected comes up. By adding in an extra day or two, you ensure you meet the deadline and don’t end up with an unhappy client.
Completing freelance writing assignments can seem complicated and frightening if you are new to writing. However, you will get used to the process and it will become second nature. In the meantime, put these tips into practice to give you more confidence in your ability to perform to the best of your abilities and make writing your career.