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Divine Write Copywriting Forum • View topic - How fast do you work?
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 Post subject: How fast do you work?
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Hey Glenn,

ad is so slick. It's concise and intense and reading it makes me feel nervous. It reminds me of the need for speed that seems to go along with writing copy as an agency employee.

I have often wondered exactly how fast a copywriter can perform these days. I would be interested to know how much copy people can produce in one day or one week. Do they work 9 to 5? Do they often take copy home so they don't have to admit they're stuck on something. Do they have a quiet place to write or are they in a noisy office. Does it bother them etc

I am also interested to know whether, if you worked for an agency and you were having trouble getting information out of your client so you could finish your copy - how would that be looked upon by your boss etc

Anyone have a story?

:)


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 2:59 pm 
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Hi Numberless
Tricky questions you posed... My feeling is that if you worry about how fast you can write then you stifle your creativity and then you take longer anyway. My personal style is to do the work and let the deadlines take care of themselves. I have found that working this way is more efficient and as yet I haven't missed a deadline.

Another factor in how long something takes is the type of writing you're doing. If you're doing package descriptions, for example, you have a picture of the product, you know who the audience is and how any words you have to write - it's just up to your creativity. If it's a complex subject that requires a lot of reading and understanding before you even begin then it will obviously take longer.

With regards to clients providing information on time for deadlines that, to me, is a management issue. Make sure that you communicate - in writing (by email) - with the client and your superiors regularly. Point out the fact that deadlines may have to be pushed out if the information is not forthcoming by (and then give them a deadline). You're a human being not a miracle worker. Tell the client when you need the information by in order to meet the deadline. If he/she doesn't meet this deadline then immediately inform him/her that it has passed and it is now unlikely that the orginal deadline can be met. Add that if the information is provided within the next (hour, day, whatever you need) then you will do your utmost to meet it.

I agree with you that the job ad is slick but that's the point really. It's an ad and that's what ad agencies do best. Don't be intimidated. Have confidence in your work and give it a go. I've always found the best way to approach these things is as though you don't really want or need the job. That way you're detached and much less nervous Go for the job just for the purpose of experience. Good luck!

All the best

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Munaiba Khan
The Copywriter Online
www.thecopywriteronline.com


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:00 pm 
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It's a tricky one for all writers, I think. No matter what sort of writing you do. When I was doing tech-writing, I remember 1 page per day being talked about. But that includes all reviews and drafts, etc.

For copywriters, that's not so relevant, though. Much of what we do is a lot shorter than that. Indeed, some is conceptual. But even our longer copy tends to be a bit more creative than tech-writing. You have to be really on your game to engage readers, especially as most of those readers only give you a couple of seconds of their attention. (I say "a bit more creative" because, despite what most people think, there's a lot of creativity in tech-writing. Finding the absolute best phrasing to convey an idea simply and succinctly is very time-consuming. I consider this a very creative process.)

Me personally? It all depends on what kind of day I'm having. If I'm 'in the groove', I can write 200 words of really, really schmick Home page copy in an hour or two. If, on the other hand, I'm struggling, that same copy could take me a full day. Or longer.

If I'm writing copy that's slightly more informational (like articles or lower level web copy), I can usually write 400-600 words in, say, two hours. This sort of copy doesn't require me to be really 'in the groove'.

I try to work 9 to 5. It can be difficult, but it is achievable. But because I spend a lot of time doing non-writing things (like this and like maintaining my PC), that doesn't mean 8 hours of work each day. There are days when I'm lucky to get a solid hour of writing in!

I write best when I'm alone. However, I find the team environment better for planning. And it's obviously better for reviews and edits.

Re extracting info from clients... I'm with Munaiba. I've always found the best way is to make the whole process as transparent as possible. Make it clear how long things are going to take, and make sure you meet that commitment. In other words, manage their expectations and your commitments. I know writing work is difficult for some bosses/clients to quantify, but if you communicate well, you're transparent, everything's well planned and you hold up your end of the bargain, most of the time, there are no problems. Even difficult clients/bosses can see the evidence before their eyes.

That is, of course, that they believe you've worked hard. Because it's difficult for them to quantify, they're relying on trust. You have to instil this in them. I reckon the best way to do this is to deliver on time most of the time, write copy that pleases clients, admit mistakes when you make them, be accountable for those mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.

Don't know how I got here, now! Think it's time I shut up!

Cheers.

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Glenn Murray
Director
Divine Write Copywriting Pty Ltd
http://www.divinewrite.com


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