Everyone writes at a different pace. For every prodigy that can produce thousands of words a day without breaking a sweat, there are many more of us. By us, I mean people that, on a good day, can write one or two thousand words worth publishing (and that’s a lot!).
As a freelance writer, the faster you can complete an assignment, the faster you might get paid (it all depends on your contract). However, unless we’re talking about a paragraph or two, writing a full blog post will probably take you a decent amount of time.
In this article, we’ll talk about how long it takes on average to write a freelance blog post (very meta, I know). We’ll dig into how your speed affects your rate as a freelancer and how to bring that metric up. Let’s get to it!
What Is the Average Length for a Blog Post?
Over time, the average length of blog posts has gone up dramatically. In the past, it wasn’t rare for blogs to publish short articles, well below the 1,000-words mark.
These days, the perfect spot lies in between 1,000 and 2,000 words per post. Beyond that, you enter the realm of ‘skyscraper’ content. Those are the blog posts designed to beat the competition in terms of sheer length and depth.
Here’s the thing, though – not every article needs that many words. However, it’s rare to find a topic that doesn’t warrant at the very least 1,000 words. That’s why I’m going to use that number as the average length for a blog post throughout the rest of this article.
Quick note: If you regularly write articles longer than 1,000 words, then be sure to adjust the calculations below to match your own numbers.
How Long Should It Take You to Write a Blog Post?
The short answer is that writing and research speed varies from person to person. However, if you want to make a living as a freelance writer, you need to find a balance between writing speed and your rates.
For starters, let’s check out this handy cheat sheet from our article on freelance writing rates:
|Level||Fee Per Word||Est. Per Hour (500 Words)|
|In Demand Expert||.21-.30||$105-$150|
Per word rates can vary dramatically depending on your experience and how good a negotiator you are. Considering the average US worker earns $27.16 per hour, a good level of productivity should enable you to come close to that number.
Let’s go over some back-of-the-napkin calculations on how fast you should be able to complete an article to get to that figure (rounding down to $27 for simplicity’s sake):
|Fee Per Word||Est. Article Writing Time in Hours (1000 words)|
|.06||At $0.06 per word, you have 2.2 hours to finish an article|
|.12||At $0.12 per word, you have 4.4 hours to finish an article|
|.20||At $0.06 per word, you have 7.4 hours to finish an article|
|30||At $0.06 per word, you have 11.1 hours to finish an article|
Right off the bat, I can tell you writing a full 1,000 words in an hour is a tall ask for even the most experienced freelancers. That time doesn’t even factor in research or editing. At around $0.12 (which is what someone with intermediate experience) can charge, you get a more reasonable four hours or so.
It’s important to understand, though – not everyone is going to aim for that per hour rate. If you live in a low cost of living country, $27 per hour is probably a king’s rate. For other parts of the world and depending on your experience, you’ll probably want to aim for a higher rate.
That brings us to a very important realization, which is that your per word rate matters much more than how fast a writer you are. While improving your writing speed is critical, the best thing you can do to increase your earning potential as a freelancer is to charge higher rates. That often involves finding clients willing to pay more.
2 Tips to Write Freelance Articles Faster
As a rule of thumb if you can finish a 1,000-word article in four hours or less (including research and editing) you’re already ahead of the curve. Even so, it never hurts to try and hone your skills. Here’s what works for me to ensure I never ‘waste’ time while writing for a project.
1. Do Your Research Beforehand
Every article you write will probably require some research. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to write about topics you know well. Even then you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row by researching studies and numbers.
More importantly, research should dive into how your competitors cover specific topics. That way, you can make sure your articles are better. However, stopping to do research in the middle of writing will break your flow. Ideally, you’ll do it beforehand and have all that information ready in an outline.
2. Put Together a Rough Outline for Every Article
Article outlines can be as rough or as in-depth as you want. My particular approach involves dividing articles into subheadings, each covering different sets of information.
Prior research lets me know what information I want to include in an article. Preparing an outline helps me plan how I want to approach it. Ideally, your outline will cover all the points you want to make and any supporting data you can find.
Creating an outline will eat into your ‘writing’ time, but in my experience, it can also drastically streamline that process. Think about your outline as a cheat sheet. It tells you what to write about and in what order, so you can focus on the fun aspect of the job, which is writing.
Talking about writing and how to do it better is perhaps the favorite past-time of most writers. As freelancers, we always have deadlines breathing down our necks. That means we need to be much more efficient than a guy sitting down to write that novel he’s been working on for years.
In my experience, if you can crack a 1,000-word article in four hours or less, you’re well within the average. The higher your per word rate is, the more time you can afford to spend working on each assignment. However, it’s always a smart move to try and improve your writing speed as much as possible.
How long does it usually take you to write a full blog post? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!