Someone said, somewhere that to be able to make a living as a writer, you need to be able to research and create an entirely unique, let's say, 615-word article in around an hour. I'm specifically omitting the name of the person who said this to show emphatically that I'm not calling said person out. I'm not here to question the validity of the statement. What I am interested in is improving my own speed, as it seems I write at a snail's pace, hemming and hawing over every word, changing around sentences in paragraphs, getting lost on the path to finding source material, you name it.
Some questions I have:
How does your own pace measure up to the aforementioned standard? Are you close? Are you generally satisfied with your current pace? In the time you've been writing, have you noticed a measurable decrease in the time it takes you to create a solid article from the first moments of research to hitting the publish button?
Also, when I write, I tend to be very disorganized. I don't lay anything out, I mold my writing like a ball of clay and eventually hack out something that resembles a quality article. I don't have a problem with spelling or grammar (for the most part) but picking a subject based on a title and then having it done in an hour, being concise, flawless, and of course, useful seems incredibly prolific. Does your approach lend efficiency to the process, and if so, what steps are involved?
Thanks in advance for the wisdom, Hubbers.
If I'm writing something I know enough about or if it's something more personal, I can usually do around 1000 words in 45 minutes. Something that requires a bit of research I can do in around an hour or so. I've never written about anything that was completely new to me that required rigorous research, but the most I've probably spent on a hub is 2 hours and even that was maybe only for 1 or two.
Writing 1000 words in an hour is not a problem.
RESEARCHING AND WRITING 1000 word article in an hour is impossible.
Researching will take up bulk of your time, as you must study 5-10 times amount of material in order to come up with your article. Even if you're a speed reader that'll still take time, lots of time.
That's why there's a proliferation of BAD CONTENT out there: people gotten lazy and started plagiarizing themselves, or avail themselves the use of gibberish rewriters trying to make **** look non-duplicate (less smelly).
Or in other words, FICTION WRITERS have no problem generated a few thousand words a day. However, we are NOT fictional writers.
I disagree. Sure, it will take a long time to research a subject you know nothing about but to write an article about something you are knowledgeable about should not take that long despite research, nor should it have to be sub-par or fiction.
So you admit that in MOST cases my statement is true, EXCEPT in the case you know the subject intimately, thus research is already done?
See my original statement, quoted by the original poster... I said that a new writer cannot make a living on the Internet as a writer if he/she can't write an article an hour. How many of you who are arguing with me right now are NEW writers (less than 1 year) who ARE making a decent living (over $3,500.00 per month) exclusively from writing on the Internet?
If you aren't doing that your argument is moot. My original quote was taken from my profile, where I attempted to answer the hundreds of people who email me with the question, "How can I make a living writing on the Internet." Most of the rest of the comments are totally out of context, not surprising.
I DO make a decent living as a writer on the Internet. Whether you think my articles are garbage or not, they are widely read in a variety of venues.Best of all, they make me a very comfortable income. I AM making a living as a writer and have been for 5 years or more. Because of my articles I have had the opportunity to write for hard copy magazines, authored a book (which I was contracted to do - it was not self published), have been quoted on websites and in various publications, have been interviewed several times, and am reasonably respected among my peers. Obviously, I am doing something right, wouldn't you say?
When someone asks me for help I try to answer them honestly. And I still say that you cannot make a decent living as a new writer if you are taking more than 1 hour to write a $20 article (the average amount new writers can make IF they get in with a decent network).
I don't have time to answer all of the email (hundreds) I get from wanna be writers so I tried to answer everyone in one lump comment on my profile. New writers have no business writing about subjects they don't know well unless someone is offering them enough money for the article to pay for their time or they are being paid by the hour. I will not lead them to believe that they can write articles that take them 4 hours for the $5 to $25 that most Internet content writers make. That would be cruel and misleading.
I do not consider $1500 - $2500 a month a decent living. I have lived on that and I would not want to do it again. A good writer is worth the money to pay a decent wage for their time. I will never understand a person who will not work for $10 an hour at a convenience store but will be thrilled with $1.50 per hour for an article.
There is nothing else I can say. Once again, many of the posters in the forums like to create a straw man in the midst of the debate and I prefer not to play.
Cagsil and Shadesbreath used to do "30 minute challenges" where everyone who entered had to create a hub in 30 minutes. Some people wrote great hubs, others had to go back and do a lot of editing.
I think it really depends on how well you know your topic and how confident you are.
When I write an article I usually go and add in all the capsules I want first - maybe 5 text capsules, each with a subtitle, a graphic or two, maybe an Amazon capsule and any other relevant ones. That way I have the basics all laid out like a mind map. Then I can fill in each capsule. I'd say it's completely possible to write 600+ words in an hour - if you're experienced and a fast typer. I did a 1,000 word hub in a 30 minute challenge once, and only had to edit it grammatically afterwards.
Research AND write ? Can't see how. I have to go to several sources, take notes, organize my thoughts, find pictures and videos, write it up, rearrange it. No way could I churn one out that fast, unless it is something that I already am very familiar with, but then I still look around to other sources to double check.
Sure, I'd like to be more prolific. Maybe I should challenge myself. Ha!
I wonder if it would be worthwhile to sit down for an hour a day and try to accomplish this, knowing that the first time I either wouldn't complete it or end up with an unreadable pile of junk.
OR, if I should take my time writing a new 600+ word article, timing myself and then trying to reduce the time future articles take by increments of 10-15 minutes...
Knowing the subject matter is extremely important, but it seems I end up writing about stuff I have better than layman's knowledge of but need more specific information on.
It's not how long it takes to write the hub it is the quality that counts. A great hub could be 500 words or 1500 words, it is the content that makes all the difference and for that to happen you need to research, have a certain knowledge of the topic, organize your work, edit and that takes time. So I say, take it a little slower but write consistently.
Good point Kanga... any recommendations for software?
Dragon Naturally Speaking for the PC, better to get an earlier version as it will be considerably cheaper than the latest version.
The same company provides a free app called Dragon Dictation for owners of iPhones or Android based smartphones, eg, HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy, etc.
I saw a few speech recognition,better known as (speak and type)- programs advertised on TV a few months ago. Also if you do an internet search, these so called voice recognition programs will come up. However I do not know how great they are in terms of editing. Besides they may take all the fun out of typing. But if you cannot type at least 500 words in an hour, like Kangaroo mentioned, it may behoove in individual in that category to speak the words they craft into their hub article.. I believe some of these programs are free downloads, while others have to be purchased.
Writing quickly and without a lot of errors comes with practice! I used to do "timed writing" exercises with my writing students.
I'm all over the place for time. I can do a 400-500 word article, start to finish, in around 10 minutes. This assumes I know the topic with no research required. I type about 120 words per minute, which really helps. If I don't know the topic well, research takes more time than the actual writing and posting by a lot.
I tried speaking programs, but I cannot speak the words nearly as fast as I can type them. Maybe if I practiced more it would become more time-effective.
My usual routine is about 1 hour or research, 1 hour of writing and 1 hour of promotion. So, roughly 3 hours per article (if I'm lucky).
Not a chance for me. I write longer hubs, generally around 1500 words, but typical time might go as follows:
Almost no research - I usually know the subject already. Instead I'll spend an hour touching up my own photos and getting them into HP. At least a half hour, though, for keyword research.
An hour or hour and a half to write and put in photo capsules. I usually have 10 or more photos.
A half hour to set up the summary, tags, group, RSS feed, etc.
An hour to interlink what hubs I think are reasonable, both to and from the new hub.
A half hour to set up the Amazon capsules, if there are any.
Another half hour to proofread and shift things around - final tweaking.
I very seldom can get away in less than 4 hours and it can take me 8.
I'm not referring to my Hubs here, because I approach Hub-writing completely differently than I do "article writing".
I can see how the 600-word thing would be about normal if the subject didn't require any particularly "complicated" research. My most common thing (with my own non-Hub stuff) might be more like a 500- to 700- word article in an hour a half (if the subject requires a little more "complicated"/"advanced" research). People can develop their own system/pattern of how they approach each article, and it can get to be fairly routine.
My approach depends on the subject but is usually along the lines of something like this: 15 to 30 minutes of research (maybe 45 minutes of research in some cases). Then, maybe, another 20 minutes of kind of incubating the article after completing research. A shorter ("less complicated") article is easy to then start and just writing in the following 30 minutes. A longer, more challenging one (but one that's no longer than 700 or 800 words) usually takes me - like - the 30/45 minutes of research, the rest of that first hour for "incubating", and the extra half hour to write. (Something like "How to buy a car stereo" or "How to choose a discount broker" are more of the hour-and-an-half variety. For me, an hour-long one (with research) would more be of the hour-long variety.
I think it's way too over-simplified for anyone to make that statement about "in order to make a living" because there are too many different ways for writers to approach writing that, when combined, can add up to income that's far less than demanding (and often low paying) than taking "standard" article assignments (especially online ones), sitting down, and writing "one's face off all day long" - only to find one has averaged a daily pay that's less than minimum wage. Adjusting the type of material according to the time, effort, and pay involved in producing each type works better (at least for me). (Keep in mind that I'm not exactly earning "big bucks" these days either, though.)
Working at an hourly rate offline (or with an online place that matches people with that kind of project) makes a big difference. So does have passive-income type writing. So does have writing that brings in royalties. A few twenty-minute but just-right online articles/Hubs can bring in a nice chunk each month. I think each person has to figure out how much time he has for what projects, know what takes the least effort and makes the most money for him, and figure out how to build a combination of projects that add up to an income (at least if he hasn't become the full-time employee of a company that gives him a salary). If you can take longer to produce a really good (and earning) online piece it may not matter all that much how long it took you to write it (or 20 more when that one is done). Don't listen to other people. Know your own situation, time, strengths, weaknesses, etc., and adjust what you do within those factors.
Because I write my Hubs in my free and/or "skimmed time" (aside from other work) I eliminate a lot of the need for research most of the time by writing from assimilated knowledge/personal experience and (usually) added some expert references (not research references because I don't research specifically for many Hubs) that back up points I've made. (My daughter has joked that I let "nothing in my personal life or background be unexploited". ) How I write Hubs is either to incubate one for a few hours while I'm doing something else, whip one up in an hour or so; or else incubate and only write part until I have the time to finish it. OR, if I have some extra time, I may just sit down and spend two (occasionally even three) hours writing a longer one. I'm far from earning a full-time income (although I could have been earning more if I had the time/energy to be bothered with more SEO stuff - but I don't), but it's one of the ways I'm supplementing my not-so-excellent primary income. So, essentially, I'm even exploiting my own spare/skimmable time (but with 300 Hubs earning as of right now, and for the last few years I'm now devoting x percent of that skimmable time to a different sort of writing effort, and don't have to write Hubs unless I'm really in the mood to do that).
Dictation software would never work for me - at all. As soon as I introduce speaking into the mix I'm done as far as having well organized, well incubated, ideas flowing in some orderly way. Basically, for me, there's no such thing as being in both a writing and a speaking mode. I have to be in one or the other, and - trust me - if I introduce speaking the resulting writing isn't going to be pretty (if it ever even got written down in words at all)
It really doesn't take me long to write something... 615 words on a topic I'm familiar enough about would be pretty easy. It's the formatting capsules, finding graphics, adding Amazon (though I don't know why, no one ever clicks on anything I put out there), reading, re-reading, (now reading out-loud) before publishing that takes a ton of time for me... then there's the sharing and backlinking (which now seems to be in question). All the other stuff involved in on-line writing that isn't actual writing is very time consuming.
If I could just write and then let someone else do all of that... not to mention hang out in the forums, read other hubs, comment on them, ask and answer questions, check my stats 100 times a day, then I would have three times the hubs!
I don't do a whole lot of that other stuff, so other than reading some Hubs when I'm not in the mood to write one; or being on the forums when I'm not in the mood to either write a Hub or read anything; I don't count non-Hub-writing activity on here in terms of it "applying to writing". The forums are what I do to get away from writing (or work). I flag, vote and/or comment when I'm going to be reading (not writing) anyway. Sometimes I'll look for a question to try to answer if there's "nothing" in the forums - and I never ask any questions. Basically, I don't treat my writing here as "online writing" - just writing. It doesn't take a whole lot of "community participation" to kind of pull one's own weight in that department (I don't think, anyway). Some when the time is right works pretty well for me.
I've been reading Hubpages all day long. It is not simply writing a Hubpages that takes all of your time. The engagement, interaction, commenting, clicking to more articles, making new friends and reading all the FORUM comments that takes all of your time!
I said that and I stand by it. Let's say I need 3,200.00 per moth to support my family. That means if I work a 40 hour week I need to make 21.85 per hour. For companies that pay per article, lets say I make 20-25 per article for 600-1000 words ( and that is an average rate for content writers without a ton of experience)
So, I have to be able to do 1 $20 article per hour to make enough money to support myself.
That also means that if someone is taking a job that only pays $5 an hour they need to be able to write 4 articles in one hour to make a living, and so on.
At this point I make more than 20 an hour and I tend to write more detailed articles but I was speaking to the new writer, not the experienced ones. When I wrote my book I had a 6 week deadline to test recipes, format and write content. Writing is not a leisurely activity if you are depending on it as your primary income, at least not at first.
Now, I make a decent living from just affiliate and residual incomes and I still write... I just am more relaxed about it.
If someone can consistently make a decent living as a new writer on the Internet I wish they would post here how they did it or write a hub about it. I'd be interested.
As far as HOW to do it (assuming you all ready have key words):
click out of facebook , email, twitter and anything else that will tempt you
open up a blank word document
do a search on your key words and read the information that comes up on several sites - you will need to skim for information
GO back to your blank page and begin writing.
This is why it is important that you not write on things that require a ton of research for you UNLESS you are getting paid enough to make it worth it. I am a food writer, I havebeeninvolved with food writing since many of you were in diapers...so II kcan knock out a food article in about 15 minutes unless I am having to photoshop images. Ihave homeschooled for 22 years, so homeschooling articles are easy for me.. If I had to write an article on the Principles of Backlinking I would lose money because it would take me forever.
Well, a large part of my writing consists of interpreting the results of scientific studies for lay people. I find that this requires 10+ hours per article if you include interrogating scientific databases, considering the alternative theories and paraphrasing everything for non-scientists. Unfortunately, people are not terribly interested in reading such a critical assessment of the literature either. As a result my earnings are minimal. In one year, I earned less than I can earn in translating for a couple of hours.
Well, if it is taking you 10 hours to create an article you should be getting paid for 10 hours worth of work, unless you are a not-for-profit organization I would think companies requiring those kinds of articles would know they needed to pay premium prices for them.
If you write 'ever-green' articles you an expect passive income from a Hub over years (?). That's why hubs offer more potential than iWriter which pays $2-$7 per article and someone else reaps the long term benefit + they allow spinning!!!!
I am referring to the time it takes me to write a hub.
Fortunately, I am still able to earn my real living as a freelance translator so I manage to get the $150-200 per day I need to live. I had hoped to construct a passive income here so I could stop worrying about having to continue working long days. However, my total earnings over nearly 2 years at HP amount to 3-4 hours of my usual income as a translator. Obviously there is no way I can gain any true financial benefit here. It seems the sort of writing I produce is not required by the average surfer.
You should know how much money accrues to a successful hubpage. An investment of several hours is not unreasonable.
You misunderstand me. I am not saying that you should not ever take time to write a well researched lengthy hubpage. The original poster's quote was taken from advice that I give to NEW writers that want to make a living on the Internet. To work for a company like About.com LoveToKnow, eHow, or Demand studios you MUST be able to turn out quality material in an hour or so in order to MAKE A LIVING.
Most of the people on Hubpages do not make a living writing - they use Hubpages for a hobby, a pleasant pastime or to add additional income to their income stream. It would take at least 3 years of well written hubs to make a decent living from Hubpages alone.
Again, back to my original quote. In order to make a living as a writer on the Internet (not necessarily just Hubpages) you will have to be able to research and write very quickly.
I get at least 100 emails a week asking me how to make money as a new writer. People think they can come on the Internet, write 50 articles and retire to Belize and it just isn't true. It's like telling someone who wants to be a model that they just need to be thin and pretty. The reality is that if you want to make a living at this you have to take articles you think are boring, write fast, write well, and put in your time.
If you are writing an article for Hubpages, or anywhere else, that is taking you 4 hours you cannot make enough to be a full time writer unless you are making at least 80.00 on that article.
Residuals are great but they don't pay the bills for quite a long time. What is a new writer going to do in the meantime?
I totally agree and I have only been able to plug away at the online writing thing because I have a couple of other sources of income and even then, I am not exactly what you call minted.
If you want to start doing online writing, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to make a decent living from that alone - not at first anyway.
I wish I could write a article quickly I prefer to use facts which requires research which takes a lot of time since one can get distracted with 'spin-off' ideas I mostly write drafts in point-form then assemble in logical sequence to a finished work then the layout takes time too but least got something done.
I think this is one huge reason for Google's Panda. Now there are so many articles whipped out in little time and they basically say the same thing. If someone can write/publish original, quality, informative content (in less than 60 min.) that doesn't read like it was written in 20 minutes, they have my admiration. A lot of what's churned out is repetitive copy.
Depending on the subject matter,my articles can take three hours to two weeks or more.
The problem at the moment is that Hubpages is in a state of flux and it is hard to say how things will go.
Right now, it looks as if there are going to be big winners and big losers here.
Being a winner could be very profitable indeed. If people are willing to go the extra mile with their writing- do the extra research, analysis and editorial polishing there is a very good chance it will be rewarded.
If taking a few days compiling an article will enable the hub to earn over $100 a month including both Adsense and Amazon sales, and will be applicable for years to come, I deem it worthy of my extra time. There is no set publishing time for all writers to follow.
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