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Great content takes time to write

I’ve knocked back a couple of jobs this week. Not because they didn’t sound interesting (actually one would have been really interesting), or because the brief wasn’t complete.

No, it was the deadline. Both had a deadline of this Friday. Neither were small jobs, and the content had to be written from scratch.

And (without sounding too big-headed) I’m pretty busy at the moment. With clients who booked me in weeks (and months) ago.

So why do people get caught out? I think it’s because they underestimate the time it takes to create great content. They often give it (the writing) a go first, then realise at the last minute that they need help.

Why I need time to write

Content creation involves far more than just typing words into a document. I also need time for:

  • Making sure I have a comprehensive brief before I start anything. This may involve a lot of back and forth over email, the phone, or for big projects I will require a face-to-face briefing session.
  • Extra research. I will look at competitors’ sites, industry sites, blogs – whatever is relevant for the project. I also have a fantastic collection of books that I’ll often refer to.
  • Leaving the work and coming back to it later with fresh eyes. I rarely sit down and write a complete project in one go. Often I’ll start a draft, leave it, come back to it, leave it, then finally polish it before I’m happy for the client to see it.
  • Revisions. I have a one revision policy – clients receive a draft, they provide feedback, and then I send a final version. If a lot of people need to provide feedback, this process takes time.

So, if you are currently planning a new website, a newsletter or something else you would like me to work on please contact me now so I can give your project the time it deserves. Because great content takes time to write.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Marion March 12, 2010, 2:32 am

    Not allotting the needed time to write may be the single biggest pitfall of the freelance career. Thanks for the reminder.
    .-= Marion´s last blog ..Sundays in the Park With Poppy =-.

    • Snappy Sentences March 15, 2010, 9:54 am

      Hi Marion

      It was definitely one of the harder things I had to learn. You need to make sure the client gives you enough time for a project, but you also need to make sure you give yourself enough time too.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Desolie Page March 16, 2010, 7:06 am

    Hi Sally

    The whole writing process takes so much longer than most realise. Understanding the subject, doing the research, organising the structure of the document all need to be done before the ‘pen to paper’ actually begins.
    Then giving your writing time to rest while you do something else before the final review is so important. And it’s one area that many writers forget to factor in.
    Some experts say the actual writing accounts for only 30% of the total process.
    It’s great to be part of a group of wordsmiths who love to share what we’ve learnt.

    • Snappy Sentences March 16, 2010, 9:15 am

      Hi Desolie, thanks so much for your comment. You’re right, there is so much to factor in with writing projects. I’m going to remember that 30% rule.


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