A freelance writer is the king of worry – he worries about everything. He worries about how to negotiate a dignified rate with new clients. Especially if they intially offer something disastrously low.
He worries about his current clients, as well – he worries asking for a higher rate would see the client enraged, which would result in him losing the gig altogether.
Most of the time, this fear leads to the freelance writer accepting lower rates, doing tons of work for low wages and never asking for more. Well, what if I told you there is a way for you to start earning more money, without doing any of the stress-inducing things I just mentioned? That way is called EFFICIENCY.
By being more efficient in your work, you’ll spend less time on one assignment, allowing you to take more work, which will have a positive effect on your bottom line.
There are a couple of ways for a freelance writer to be more efficient in his work:
Do your research
If you had fifteen minutes to write a 500-word blog post, would you be able to do it? Probably, if you knew every little detail about the topic before you actually started writing. It would take you approximately five minutes to set up an outline, and ten minutes writing, as you’d have everything ready in your head, and you’d just spill it onto a blank Word page. There’s this Abraham Lincoln quote that you’ve probably seen around the internet, saying: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
That’s essentially it – if your knowledge of a topic is extensive – writing becomes a very easy thing to do. So, before you actually sit down to write anything, do your research. But just as you’d prepare an outline for the article, prepare a similar outline about doing research. What do you want to know? Which questions do you want answered? What type of information do you need to be able to form a complete picture of any topic? You’d be surprised how much information you can obtain in a two-hour research. After getting enough input, let that info sink in for a day, grab a cup of coffee, and you’ll be surprised how easy writing becomes. Also, you’ll become the expert freelance writer at a specific topic, allowing you to get more clients in the future, and earning more, as your knowledge of the topic is extensive.
Speed up your typing
The second thing you should do is increase your typing speed. How much time does it take for you to type out a few hundred words? According to Chron’s report, an average human types somewhere between 38 and 40 words per minute, while professional typists manage to squeeze in 67 to 70 words per minute. So how fast does a freelance writer type?
Check this out:
This is a screenshot I just took, from a website where you can train, and test your typing speed – Typing Test. If you want to increase your efficiency, and be able to write more content daily (thus earning more), you could try increasing your typing speed. All it takes is 15 minutes a day of practice to speed things up. There are even YouTube tutorials on how to achieve greater speeds, you can try watching any of these.
They are called ‘shortcuts’ for a reason – they’ll cut down on the time you need to prepare an article, significantly. It might seem trivial, but if you spend five minutes copying, pasting, scrolling, deleting and adding things to an article, instead of ten seconds, it will definitely add up during the day. Combine that with faster typing, and a more thorough knowledge of the topic you’re covering, and suddenly it takes but a moment to prepare a complete article.
For example – did you know that pressing CTRL+Delete deletes an entire word? For me, that has proven useful in countless situations. CTRL+H opens the Find and Replace dialog box with the Replace tab selected, and ALT+vertical mouse drag makes a vertical text selection. You can find a list of the most useful Word shortcuts here.
Same goes for pretty much every other software you might be using. For example, if you’re using Chrome, pressing CTRL+1, or CTRL+2 will open the first, or second tab, respectively. CTRL+SHIFT+T will open the last closed tab, which can be a lifesaver if you accidentally close a tab with some important research material that you haven’t had a chance to read yet.
Speed up your life
Earning more doesn’t always mean finding better-paying clients. Sometimes, it just means doing more work in the same timeframe which, with a little effort, isn’t that hard at all. And it pays dividends, long-term.
Image Credit: Flickr / Keith Cooper