Beating the Last Minute Blues: A Guide to Writer Planning by Article Type
Working as a freelance writer can sometimes be tricky, especially when it comes to scheduling. While freelance article writers can choose their schedules, they often are at the whim of when work is available and when a client requires a piece to be completed. If you are like most freelancers, you will find yourself juggling this timing issue regularly throughout your career. It helps to prepare beforehand and to maintain a good working relationship with your clients.
Developing and maintaining a good client relationship is one of the most important factors in building a freelance career. This is doubly true when it comes to scheduling your work. Clients appreciate working with a professional who presents problems as they occur, in order for solutions to be managed early before last-minute panic-mode sets in. Clients trust that you will complete your work on time, and plan their schedules based on your completion. If you need more time to work due to scheduling conflicts or health issues, your client needs the time to change their own schedule or find an alternative source for the work. Remember, it is normal to have reasons to delay projects. If you put the client’s needs first, they will respond in a positive manner.
Discuss ongoing projects with your clients to give them a heads-up if you run into problems or questions. If you invite your client into a collaborative partnership with you, they will feel more confident in your professionalism. This is how to build trust.
How Long Will It Take?
Ultimately, only you know how long it takes you to complete a specific type of project. Here are some guidelines to plan out your work:
- Know your writing speed. Some people write faster. For instance, I have learned to construct an article as I type into the computer. I can type, think and correct as I go. This means that I can write quickly. If you know how long it will take to write 500 words, you can plan your actual writing time.
- How long will the research take? Unless you are an expert in your field who creates the data, you will need to research. The less you know about a topic, the longer it will take to uncover the information. For most articles, I can complete my research in under an hour. However, if I am completely unfamiliar with the topic, I need to allow more time. Time yourself as you research a few articles to figure out how long it takes.
- What kind of writing is it? Writers use a variety of writing styles. Most writers have one or two styles that come more easily to them. If you need to write in a style that takes more time such as an academic style, you need to allow for the extra time.
- Is this a new or established customer? Projects for new customers often take more time because you are not familiar with the customer’s work style, requirements and schedule. These projects require more initial inquiries and follow-up revisions. With an established customer, these needs are already known and if they change, the customer will inform you.
- How many other projects have you completed similar to this one? All writers come to favor certain types of projects over others. Over time you can become an expert in your niche. A niche can be a field of expertise such as forensic entomology, or it can be a type of writing such as a white paper. Experts can draw on their experience to complete jobs more quickly.
Paula A is a freelance writer who has been writing on the Internet since 2008. When she is not writing, Paula creates and maintains websites, searches for handmade art treasures and nibbles on chocolate to keep herself motivated.