A glimpse into the life of a writer/editor

I recently saw a post by an influential copywriter/teacher who said never to charge by the hour, and I totally understand why.

When you bundle your services into packages or provide a one-time fee for the project, you make more than having to track your time and charge hourly.

However, I love my $100 hourly fee. First, it’s a nice round number that’s higher than living wage. Am I making $100/hour working 40 hours a week every week? Not always, but it’s something nice to strive for.

Second, charging by the hour and doing small projects for new clients (if I’m available) is a good way to test a working relationship and see if we want to move into something longer term. It’s a “low-tier” offer, as my marketing friend would say.

Based on that, you’ll probably already know the answer to the original question of this blog.

 

Editing is faster.

I LOVE editing. It doesn’t require THAT much brainpower on my part (unless I’m editing a book), and editing involves fixing errors, re-wording, and polishing the client’s work not so that it’s presentable and still sounds like them.

So yes, I can edit faster than I write.

The catch is: YOU (the client) have to start a first draft. So that means it’s some work on your part, but if you’re the kind of person (or company) that needs to have your hand (or eye) on all content before it gets published, hiring an editor is a good thing.

I’ve edited websites, ebooks, biographies, articles, book proposals, books, and products. Below is a photo of the Gensperity Oracle card deck by my friend that I edited. It’s so cool!

There are times when I write or edit content that’s ghostwritten which means the client is credited for the work, but it doesn’t matter so long as they’re happy with it, and I get paid. You can check out some examples of my ghostwriting work in this blog and in my portfolio.

 

Writing: An act of the soul

I made that headline a bit more heavy so you can see where I’m going with this. Writing for clients takes longer than editing, most of the time. For clients like vKind, blogs don’t need to be very long, have a more casual tone, and don’t require that much research so I can sometimes bang out a first draft in 30 minutes or less. Then I’ll set it aside and read it again the next day before sending it onto the client, because I usually change a few things and that adds some more time.

For everyone else, I’m writing all the content. Depending on what the project is, we’re looking at a minimum billing of an hour. And I might need some information from them to get started.

  • Websites: I need to see the website wireframe and know the word limit for each section that requires text. (In early 2020 I attempted to write all the copy for a new website WITHOUT looking at the wireframe and that results in text that wouldn’t work for the design, so don’t do this!) Then I need to know the information that goes on each page or section, who the audience is, and what the brand avatar (or voice) of the company is. There are a number of other questions I ask as well.
  • Blogs/articles: If research is required, some starting links can save some time from me Googling, so that’s always appreciated. Otherwise, research-heavy pieces might take up to three hours, depending on the length of the piece required. Sometimes a spokesperson’s needed to provide quotes.
  • Emails: Similar to websites, I just need to know the content that needs to go into the email. Sometimes I draft it right into the email software so the client can review the draft before sending it out.
  • Other documents: I typically edit other types of documents, but usually this just requires a bullet-point outline for me to get started. News releases require one major piece of news, quote(s) from spokesperson(s), and supporting information.
  • Social content: I believe in the 80/20 rule when it comes to social content, which means you should focus on storytelling 80% of the time and selling 20% of the time. To draft social media post descriptions for sales-related posts, I’d need to know the product or service (or aspect of it) that we’d focus on. The other 80% can vary in topic and I’d discuss what types of posts those will be with the client prior to the work. As social content is the most cumbersome (even though posts can be short), it’s not my favourite piece of content to work on and that’s why I’ll only do it for clients who take my Content Capsule package.

I don’t always nail a client’s brand voice right away, but especially if we’re working on an ongoing basis, it’s important to ease into it by the 3-month mark. If by that time my voice doesn’t sound like the company’s, it’s probably not a good fit. Again, this is why I love editing more than writing from scratch.

Below’s a screenshot of the new website launched this year by wound software company Pixalere, which I wrote the copy for. I love it when a website’s really well designed! It makes my work shine that much brighter. 🙂

Here are a couple of other original writing projects from this year I’m really proud of:

 

If you need a writer or editor to help you market your biz so you can do what lights your fire, check out my content packages.

If you need a ghostwriter or copyeditor for your memoir, check out my author services.

No question’s too dumb or too small with writing or editing, so if you have any other qs, DM me on social media @sandranomoto or contact me. I love answering commonly asked questions in videos too.

 

Header photo: Tosha Lobsinger

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