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Writing time

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
21 of 29

I charge for research.


If I'm doing something I'd rather not be doing because it's for a client, I charge. I even do what professionals do and bump an estimate by at least 10% to cover unforeseen issues. OMG craziness!


Even when I got into a dispute, I lost $150 on the contract but essentially got enough money for my time. I got $500 out of a $650 contract, so I probably made closer to $70/hour after the dispute. 


A Jennifer always collects her debts.

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
22 of 29

Well, Jenifer, I'm not there yet. Only wrote a few things as a freelancer. Everytime, I got so involved in the topic I had lots of fun doing the research, and for me, having fun is nearly as good as making money....

Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
23 of 29

@Luce N wrote:

I love writing, but I love researching even more; So I couldn't expect someone to fully pay for the time I use researching. I get carried away because it's something I enjoy doing so much.


There are a few topics I could write about without research, of course, but the topics I'm thinking of are problably not that interesting to most people and I don't imagine someone would be willing to pay for me to write about them.

 All of my time is paid for as a writer...including research. 

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
24 of 29

 All of my time is paid for as a writer...including research. 



Same here. I don't believe we should only get paid for the parts of the job we don't love. Smiley Very Happy To me that is a negative view of what work is. Work can be something you love. I have loved writing since I was tiny. If I decided it was only fair to get paid for things that were a drag I'd become an accountant instead. Smiley Very Happy


As for already knowing the topic, even if I know a topic backward, forward, up and down, I like to check anyway to see what is new on the subject, to find links and studies, to get a fresh perspective. You can never know it all and sometimes when you're close to a subject you're actually TOO immersed in it; you can become pat and formulaic. (I noticed this writing my 30th or so "Halloween" article for a longtime client.) I love to keep learning and I want to bring something truly unique to the table for my clients.


Sorry, I don't know what happened with the formatting there; both of the above paragraphs are my reply. ^

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
25 of 29

I don’t think think I am faster than in the past, and I have been writing professionally since 1999.


I really have never thought of writing in terms of trying to get faster. It is creative; it is an art form.


When I went from on-site to freelancing, that is when I first actually timed my work and discovered that I tend to complete any draft, on any subject, at around an hour for 500-ish words. This includes Googling to find out what’s trending in related areas, finding reputable linkable sources, finding images, vetting any hard facts, and writing the first draft.


After this, I edit, and this will either overlap that first hour or extend beyond it, but I will generally call it one hour anyway for billing purposes.


It was very odd at first to have to quantify all this when I spent my childhood thinking writers tap away in an attic thoughtfully while gazing at a sparrow on the windowsill, waiting for the muse to strike. 😎

Ace Contributor
Katerina S Member Since: May 28, 2019
26 of 29

I know this was all posted a while ago but I'm new to working online and looking for some reassurance... and I didn't want to start a new thread!


I've just got my first hourly paid job on upwork and I'm loving it! But I can't help but feel a bit unsure of how I'm doing speed wise, especially because online you can't see your client's facial expressions...My client has given me positive feedback and I haven't had any complaints so far.

But I can't help but worry about how long it's taking me to write each article. After reading some of the posts on this thread I don't think I'm too far off the norm...?


It's taking me on average 5 hours to write a 2000 word article including research and editing and it's in Portuguese, which is not my native language. I am fluent but I think accents and words I'm unsure on slow me down slightly (I like to hand in work as error-free as possible).


Is that about average writing speed? Do you think I should try and be faster?


I'm grateful for any advice!

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
27 of 29

Katerina S wrote:



Is that about average writing speed? Do you think I should try and be faster?


I think if your client is happy with your work and isn't complaining about the amount of time it's taking and you are happy with the amount you're getting paid and feel like you're working at a good pace to turn in quality work, then you should keep on doing exactly what you're doing.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
28 of 29

I got out of writing as a business when I realized that overall I'm so slow I might as well reserve what little writing I do for my pro bono work. If a prospect insisted, I might take on a writing job, but would want it to be hourly because I have no faith in my ability to judge how long things take.

On the other hand, I can edit at industry standard paces, and can even use my actual pace as a benchmark for the level of editing the manuscript requires: Editorial Freelancers Association rate survey.

Note—going back to the OP—that the survey includes pace ranges for various types of writing.

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
29 of 29

I can't even say how long any number of words take me as a grant writer because it's not how I estimate how long a project will take. 


I'm currently working on a grant with a neurologist, and I've had to do so much lit review, for 4 research strategies (total of 36 pages on just those components), I think I've done around 20 hours of research and some drafting. 


My estimates have far more to do with the components of any specific grant application, the expertise of the client and if they are grant-ready, and my current level of comfort with their field. I'll take on new fields, but I have to factor in the time to become fluent in the subject matter. But I've done this enough to know an NIH grant takes about 80 hours on average - more or less depending upon the expertise of the client (less if they are a return applicant or client, more if they are a first time applicant). NEA is about 20 hours. NEH is about 40. NSF generally 80 as well. DOD and DOE, upwards of 80 likely, depending on the RFA/RFP/FOA. 


On the other hand, I have written successful grant applications in a couple of hours. It all depends on parameters and variables.