Even though this post was written for freelance writers, any blogger or article marketer can take advantage of the advice mentioned here.
In a previous post I was talking about why you shouldn’t write for peanuts when you write for clients. In this post I wanted to talk about what it takes to be able to write in a professional fashion for your clients (or your own blog), especially about a topic you know very little of or even not at all.
As a freelance writer, you are bound to write about topics you do not know, unless you have the luxury of writing only what you want. However, to me it’s a little bit like wanting to sell only to a certain type of clients and refusing all the others. In my case, I accept all kinds of assignments, as long as I feel that I can do the job and that the price is right.
This is how I found myself writing about health issues, diets, inventors, weddings, addictions, historians, social issues, technology, and more. Since I’m not a Jeopardy game millionaire winner, you can be sure that I do not know about all such topics and need to do some research before I can write about them. Research is a huge part of writing, and when you calculate how much you should charge a client, research should be included in the addition.
Why is Research so Important for a Freelance Writer?
There are several reasons why research is important before writing, but two reasons really stand out. 1) When you don’t know much or at all about a topic you won’t be able to write anything about it. 2) Even if you have browsed around about the subject, it won’t be enough to write an 800-1000 word article that flows. Eventually, your lack of knowledge will prevent you to write high quality content. There is no way around research.
What’s Involved in Research?
Remember that not everything you read online is necessarily true. Not everything you read in hard copy magazines is true either, and neither is everything you hear on TV. So, don’t think that I am trying to undermine all the media here, but be aware that false information does go around, and some of it could be seen as true while it’s not.
With this in mind, when you do research try to find out if any given fact is true. You can research certain facts by using the specific keywords involved in your findings. If you find contradictions, this is red flag that such fact may or may not be correct. If you find two opposite facts, it’s obvious that one of them is incorrect. You’re job as a high quality writer is to try to find out which of the two is the true fact.
This is why research takes time. You need to go as deep as you are paid for to be able to write superior quality content with as true facts as possible. This is why companies and individuals who are really looking to add high quality content to their blog or website will not hesitate to pay you well for the job. While writing the article can take relatively little time, research can take you several hours.
Editing your Content Over a Few Times
I don’t care for how long you’ve been writing, and how much, we, as humans are bound to make mistakes once in a while. I’ve seen incredible grammar and spelling mistakes from people who most definitely knew better. Nonetheless, they did make those mistakes. I have sometimes been totally blinded to my own mistakes until someone pointed them out to me or I slept on it. This is why it is a must that you sleep on your work. Unless you absolutely can’t, you should never deliver a written piece the same day you wrote it.
Also, curiously, you see incredible mistakes among English native speakers that make no sense to me, even though the English language is not my native language.
I am talking about mistakes with words such as: Effect instead of Affect; isle instead of aisle; except instead of accept, etc. Those are incredibly bad mistakes because it makes you look like you don’t understand your own language. And Frankly, I’ve seen those mistakes often.
Here are few examples of the correct use of these words
- The new schedule will take effect soon.
- The fact that English is not my language doesn’t affect my performance.
- All are in, except one.
- I’ll be glad to accept your money.
- There is an isle with palm trees, three miles from here.
- Olive oil is on aisle 3.
If you are using those words inappropriately, you will look like either you really don’t think about what you are writing, or you haven’t really understood what those words meant to start with. How any native speaker could mix those is beyond me, but if you are one of them, please, makes sure you get those straight.
We all have error patterns, but it’s our job as a writers to know them well and search for them as they tend to sneak in if we don’t give them our full attention.
Punctuation is Part of Writing
Are you one of those people who think that punctuation is not important? If you want to write online or offline for pay, I hope that you are not one of them. Lack of punctuation or wrong punctuation will affect (not effect) your writing greatly. I’ve read a blog post lately that I didn’t want to share because of an awful lack of punctuation. So, believe me, people won’t want your writing if you can manage to use correct punctuation.
When you are used to write, punctuation is not that hard, but if you are still confuse about it, just get a grammar book and learn the basis of punctuation. Over time, it should become easier.
Punctuation Basic Rules
- Absolutely no run on sentence without a coma or a period. Each thought or statement should be separated by either a coma or a period.
- Use a comma to separate elements such as: he stood, ran, and fell. Use a comma before conjunctions such as: …, and …, but …, for …, yet …, so, etc…
- Use a comma to introduce a new element such as: While the groom was waiting for the bride, he realized that he had forgotten the rings.
- Use a comma before a quotation, “quotations”.
There are of course other instances when a comma is needed but these are the basics.
When I write for clients, these are the three areas I spend the most time – research, editing and making sure my punctuation makes sense, and is correct. Interestingly, the writing part itself is what takes the least time for me. When you write for pay, you take those three areas into consideration. When you write for your own blog, be sure to do the same.
So, how is your writing? Let us know what’s tough and what’s easy for you…
35 thoughts on “What Should Be Included In Your Writing Price?”
Very very awesome Sylvianne, A lot of writers seems to miss the very important points you’ve stated. Thanks a bunch 😀
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Thanks for coming by and glad you enjoyed the post.
Some people just need to grow up and start paying people good money, ESPECIALLY if they can write as well as you. Otherwise, they don’t need to be offering positions. I know like last year in Wealthy Affiliate, I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous tasks like writing 100 articles for $100. Then of course you have to worry about if they’ll actually pay up. If you write say 25 articles and give it to them, they could theoretically block you from any means of contacting them not paying up. Great information.
Wow, 100 articles for $100 is a pure insult and anyone wanting to do this should go get a job at McDonald’s they still pay better.
This goes to show you how disrespected writers are. Thanks for your feedbacks, Seth 🙂
Some people just need to grow up and start paying people good money, ESPECIALLY if they can write as well as you. Otherwise, they don’t need to be offering positions. I know like last year in Wealthy Affiliate, I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous tasks like writing 100 articles for $100. Then of course you have to worry about if they’ll actually pay up. If you write say 25 articles and give it to them, they could theoretically block you from any means of contacting them not paying up. Great information. 🙂
To be honest, I don’t actually think about these things when writing (Especially, in blogging).
Sure, I do care about the grammar, the punctuation, and so on (Well, I care – but honestly, I don’t look at those when writing for my own blog or writing online).
Not much editing either (I hate editing because editing causes me to rewrite whole paragraphs and even change what I meant to say in my blog post).
I agree with your points about research, but what I do is experiment and write based upon my observations and results from experiments (that works, right?).
Wow, Jeevan, you don’t edit your work? That shows a lot of confidence. I do not even write a blog comment without editing. I write very fast and do let stuff behind.
The only way you can afford not to care about grammar is if you’re pretty good at it 🙂 or write only for yourself. Looks like you are doing GREAT then!
Was about to get off right when I saw your comment. 😉 To be honest with you, people won’t want to read what you write if you do this. That’s almost like brainstorming and throwing all your ideals down without making the necessary changes. Then the most important thing is the thesis statement. When I took college english is high school. OMG, they were constantly on my ass about the thesis statement. The thesis statement typically needs to be in the 2nd full sentence or towards the end of the 1st paragraph. A professional writer, or somebody who writes really well, can write a thesis statement in 2 sentences instead.
You really need to do your studying. Wikipedia is one good place to do that even though many people are starting to think they’re an invalid source since anybody can edit it. Well… I know better because if you search Google, you’ll know people are usually immediately removed for making dumb changes.
I’m not perfect!
Really don’t think anyone is, but I make concious effort to make sure everything is correct. Now, we can always miss something but If you try then this should be kept to a minimal.
Jeevan, really you don’t edit much :O
PS: You seem to have some sort of issue occurring:
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I’ve been asked so many times how do I come up with topics to write about and how do I plan my posts. Want to know my answers?
I write about things I have learned and I don’t really plan out my posts. I don’t go to the length to research stuff so although I can really appreciate the lengths most freelance writers have to go to, I don’t do hardly any of this type preparation. I mean you guys are getting paid to write and it’s based on the quality of content you produce. Sure, I guess you could say I get paid for my writing if it helps attract more visitors to my blog. Man, that’s just a lot of pressure to me.
But all great tips Sylviane and for anyone who even questions what’s involved in order to write this would be the post to send them to.
OK, you are going to be my guinea pig to see if my blog is back to health.
What’s funny is that Hesham said…”I’m not sure why you want to add you Google+ profile link here”. Duh, Strange isn’t it? Anyway, I hope he can help me to achieve this task as I will NOT try myself again 🙂 Thankfully I didn’t lose anything as Hostgator told me I would. There are really great 🙂
Now, about the post LOL. You’re writing is perfect, Adrienne, and you don’t have to worry about any of the mistakes I am talking about here.
Thank you for coming dear 🙂
This is fantastic, Sylviane. Too many people miss the aspect of research and think you should be able to write an article in a half hour or hour. That’s why they want to pay peanuts. The figure you just crank it out and you’re done. But writing doesn’t come out of thin air. Especially if you’re writing for a client, it’s unlikely that you know everything about that client’s business and industry. So how do you write something intelligent? Research, and lots of it! Then writing, more research, editing and more editing!
And if you make a typo here and there on your own blog, well, it’s not horrible. You can fix it. But if your spelling or grammar aren’t correct on client work, that makes the CLIENT look bad, which is all kinds of worse.
Good writing is not cheap for all these reasons. I would like to get a megaphone and shout this whole post from the top of a mountain. Really great advice!
Yes Carol, I wish more people who are looking to hire writers would understand that, but as we know not of all them do.
Thank you for wanting to share my post 🙂 So nice to hear, and you’re a doll 🙂
I had to laugh at myself as I read this post. Affect vs effect…. things like that ALWAYS happen to me when I write. But I first write from my heart and it is usually something I have thought deeply about or have just learned. Most of the time it comes from other people asking me a question.
I write without looking at punctuation, spelling, etc. When it is all done, then I go back to edit it. I am not a professional writer, but a blogger and do have to present something that is “readable” –
As for the research part – sometimes I need to do that when I write about something that needs it. But as I read your post, I think I need more brushing up in that department.
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Ahaha, Donna, you’ve spelled my name wrong twice LOL. Sylviane and not Sylvaine. I know my name is tough NOT to misspell. As a matter of fact, do you know that both Sylviane and Sylvaine are two different French first names? Ahah I know you didn’t 🙂
When it comes to language I grew up with a very tough discipline because my mother was like A++++ student who didn’t let me get away with any misspell 🙂 Little did I know that this was going to help me even with foreign languages. But I still make mistakes too 🙂
I only write for my blog or emails so do not write for clients. I write about topics I know about but there is still a need for some research.
I see a lot of spelling errors on the internet and sometimes I cringe.
I am a bit like Donna. I write then go back and correct and even then I did miss some typos. You know that affect/effect one has been the one that has “got” me all my life 🙂
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You don’t seem to be someone who has any problem with English. Looks like you do just fine, sue.
It seems that affect and effect has got a lot of people though. You know what’s funny? Because of my French I find it impossible to mixed them, but I notice that English speaking people do. How interesting!
Good point you bring up in this blog post. Not too many bloggers bring this up. It sure is an eyeopener. I have to say though, if you are writing for a living or school it’s crucial that your writing is on point.
If you are writing on your blog you should know the basics of writing and grammar, although I’d like to believe you should write in a conversational tone. A mistake here and there (minor ones) is not such a bad thing.
One thing for sure is the more you write, the better you become.
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So very true, writing like anything else, gets better with practice. No doubt. I can see this for myself.
A small error here and there is not a bit deal when it’s you’re own blog, that’s true, but for a client I really try to do zero error, because you can be sure that if there is one they are going to see it. You know how it is, easier to see other people’s mistakes.
I am an offender! I am certain I was taught never to put a comment before “and”. I have looked it up and it seems that you do use a comma when you are joining two separate elements but not in lists.
I do try to be careful to be grammatically correct in my writing. Hopefully there are not too many gaps in my knowledge. If I am not totally sure of punctuation in a complicated sentence I will split the sentence into two. I often use shortish sentences anyway as I keep in mind readers whose English is not very good.
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Hum, interesting! Well, the rule is YES there is a comma before “and” and “but”, however it’s not to drastic if you don’t put one. My rule is that if the sentence is quite long I will most definitely put a comma before “and”. If the sentence is rather short it’s not as bad.
Before writing one should first do research about the topic to be written.Without getting deep into the need of topic will result in a bad article post.It may be possible that writing without researching a topic will let your knowledge at degraded state in the sense that you are only writing what you know and not what’s the exact description one thing can have.Having a limited knowledge is harmful both for the growth of yourself and the post you are writing.
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I agree and what you are saying makes a lot of sense. Even when writing about our own niche that we know well, we always need to keep ourselves up to date. Things change and we need to be sure that what we write about is accurate.
Thank you for your feedbacks.
You got my point Sylviane 🙂 Being accurate and straight to the point hit on the right chords of everyone.
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For freelance writers I think there’s more responsibility than blogging on a personal blog. However it’s better to do right thing always, so don’t need to aware of what situation it is, No? 🙂
Mostly research is my thing and I do it myself but explore web too. As you my topics are mix of what I found + what I know. Usually they are tips, just need to know what they actually do and in what circumstances we can use them. Anyway I need imagination to think about possible occurrences too 🙂
I do care punctuation, ’cause they can change meaning of a sentence. I use them mostly and not an expert of it. I do refer books if I have doubts.
Editing is another usual aspect in my writing. Sometimes I do write a post once, but mostly when I read my post 2nd or 3rd time before posting, I may feel to change some lines. May be add more information. Sometimes I delete whole post and write from scratch with rich set of ideas. Je ne suis pas parfait 😉
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Ah, Mayura, your French is pretty good 🙂
You summed it up all here. It takes research and editing before we can come up with a finish product.
Thanks for your feedbacks.
A good content editor needs multiple times of editing at several intervals before publishing it. The more you edit a content, the more quality it achieves as each edit will make the content more refined and conceivable.
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I totally agree with that. The more I edit my content the more I refine it, but rarely do I have to delete whole chucks of it, because what I would be deleting my first ideas which are usually my best ideas.
Thanks for your excellent input.
I agree with this post 100%. I have to admit, when I write in the middle of the night after a tiring day, I often make mistakes that I realize only the morning after. Some of those mistakes aren’t even common grammatical error or typo, sometimes I write jumble of words that make no sense when I re-read it. So yes, proper research and editing is definitely important in writing, not just the writing itself.
I think in your writing comment the grammer and word or punctation should be correct and easily understandalbale whatever the written can be write in any way it doesn’t matter but your word should be understandable.
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Yes, it’s very important to make sure that your reader is going to understand you, so using words that most everyone understand is crucial. No one wants to read lawyers drafts, do we? 🙂
I couldn’t be more agree with George. He stressed very well that you have to check and re-check your text several times before you publish it especially if you are not a real native English speaker.
At least, i do this and the number of complaints is reduced.
Yes, Radu. Ah, I like your expresson a “real native” 🙂 Indeed if you are not a native of the language you are going to double check yourself, but it also depends at what level you’ve got. I know some non-native a the English language who write much better than some of the natives I know.
In other words, in the end being a native or not may lose it’s “power”, so to speak.
Thank you for your input.
These are all great tips. I have to say one of the best tips is to sleep on something that you have written. I write very technical academic papers and grants. I know that with each passing day my draft will get better and better, and so it is important to have several days to keep revising it. My best papers and grants were written over several weeks.
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I totally agree with you Kisten, that’s why I don’t like to have clients that are in a rush. I don’t do rush well, because I know that I need to sleep on my work at least one day.
Thanks for our input and nice to see you here 🙂
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