How long does it take you to write an article?

46 replies
Out of curiosity, how long does it take you guys to write a simple 400-500 word article?

The reason I'm asking is we recently hired a full time VA on UpWork who was apparently an academic professor in another country. The quality of work was acceptable though it took the individual 2.5 hours for each article (500 words).

Base on what I've experience with our other article writers and my own experience, I thought this was rather surprising. It'd be interesting to hear and see how long it takes you guys to write a good 500 word article.

Presuming these premise:
- The content is properly researched/fact-checked
- The content is articulated effectively
- A good piece of content overall.

Even with these considerations, I cannot comprehend how it'd take 2.5 hours to write one 500 word article.
#article #long #write
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Depends on the content.

    For 600 words of a technical electronics article, that's not unreasonable. If the writer has to research, correlate, and validate, then it's going to take awhile. Back in 2010 I wrote these kinds of articles and it took me about that long. And I know my topic.

    If you're paying by the hour, then stop. Pay by the job. It shouldn't matter to you how long the writer takes to do the work as long as it's done by the agreed-upon due date--pay a flat fee. You get what you pay for. I earned over $30/hr for my effort on the electronics articles, and after awhile it stopped being worth my time because I could easily earn more doing other things.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gambino
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      If you're paying by the hour, then stop. Pay by the job. It shouldn't matter to you how long the writer takes to do the work as long as it's done by the agreed-upon due date--pay a flat fee. You get what you pay for. I earned over $30/hr for my effort on the electronics articles, and after awhile it stopped being worth my time because I could easily earn more doing other things.
      Bingo.

      Time is irrelevant for article writing, pay for the project. What's the value of a well written 500 word article?

      I pay $10.80 on iWriter for some decent and some bad articles that I rewrite myself when I'm looking for decent writers to hire to write for me. Those are for 1,000 words.

      It takes me 60-90 minutes to write about a topic that I know about, which includes time to do a little research to make sure I know what I think I know. I never write under 1,000 words.
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      • Profile picture of the author eliteprime
        Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

        Depends on the content.

        For 600 words of a technical electronics article, that's not unreasonable. If the writer has to research, correlate, and validate, then it's going to take awhile. Back in 2010 I wrote these kinds of articles and it took me about that long. And I know my topic.

        If you're paying by the hour, then stop. Pay by the job. It shouldn't matter to you how long the writer takes to do the work as long as it's done by the agreed-upon due date--pay a flat fee. You get what you pay for. I earned over $30/hr for my effort on the electronics articles, and after awhile it stopped being worth my time because I could easily earn more doing other things.
        Thanks for your comment; good insights and fair considerations.

        As mentioned, I had no problem with the quality of the content. It had a reasonable amount of structure, facts, and flow.

        The article was actually 450 words in a foods niche.

        Originally Posted by ShawnLim View Post

        I guess it all depends on which niche you are in.
        Usually, if I'm writing an article in the niche I focused on, I can write more than 1,000 words in an hour.
        However, if it is a different market, I need more time to think and research.
        Thanks for the feedback; I do likewise so was a bit surprise at this.

        Originally Posted by GetPLRhere View Post

        Once you get the article, you probably should be able to tell if it's well written or not.

        It would take me about 1.5 hours to write a quality 400-500 article on common subjects. Let's face it, a good article is not writing a blog post. There's a lot of brainstorming involve. Then there might also be some researching involve if the writer is not an expert on the subject. Even if you supply the writer with materials, he will still need to Google up some information. Even Ph.d's use Google and the public libraries.

        To finish it off, there's grammar and style check, resorting in a few revisions and touch-ups here and there.

        I agree with the guy above. Pay flat fee instead of hourly.
        Good to hear your input. So even on a slower speed at 1.5 hours, this writer is taking 2X longer.

        Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

        Depending on the niche, this is absolutely a realistic timeframe, even for a 500-word article. I'm writing one right now that involves taking a complex medical treatment and condensing it down so the layman can understand it. It's the research that takes the longest (for me, anyway). The actual writing of the article only takes about an hour or so.

        Keep in mind, writing is much more than just sitting down and typing out words on a computer. It involves research, brainstorming, thinking and writing. This is why I always charge by the project. If I charged by the hour then every single client would say "This is an easy article, it should only take an hour or less."

        If you writing is writing quality content, don't second guess them on how long it takes. It's probably one of the biggest pet peeves among freelancers.
        The niche is food. It wasn't complicated, I thought it would have been a nice leisurely article although I wanted it phased intellectually about the health benefits of a specific food.

        Originally Posted by BeenThereDoneThat View Post

        OK, "to write a simple 400-500 word article?" 30 to 35 minutes. That's quick research, write, edit, submit. I know people that do it in 15, but I've never seen their work. Check out INA by Jon Leger, they have some pretty good writers. Always pay the research fee and maybe the 4-5 star writer fee. Cost would be about $6 for 500 words. They'll usually have it back to you in 3 days or less, especially if you're paying those extra fees.
        Stef
        Haven't used INA but will give it a look. I'm afraid about the quality of these articles if you can't choose your writer though. I think you can get more value for your dollar by giving a larger % to the writer than a membership site.

        Originally Posted by Daye View Post

        Once I know what I'm writing I would estimate about 1 hour for actually writing/research and then another 30 minutes for editing and re-editing, for a 500 word article.

        If I'm simply writing an opinion piece or something related directly to a topic I'm already well informed, I can do it in 30 minutes.

        I have never hired for content services but I have always thought that going per job would be the best option. I had a VA who took 8 hours to do what I could do in 3 hours, and even though I could "review" his work throughout the day, it was still obviously exaggerated.
        Exactly!

        Originally Posted by obaynes View Post

        Man, this thread is rife with bottom-barrel content mill standards. Two hours for a 500 word piece is maybe realistic for something where the writer just skims Google's top 10 results and re-organizes information in a way that will beat Copyscape. It's not even close for an original piece that is worth a damn.

        I'd love to see links to what people consider "acceptable" for a 500-word piece churned out in one hour. Any actual professional writer told to do that, or to accept $6 for 500 words wouldn't even take the time to laugh at you before walking out the door.

        OP, if the central issue is billable hours, stop billing by the hour. Pay by the word instead, or a flat fee for the completed piece.
        Make sense, I have considered a rate per article although I think we can make it work hourly by setting reasonable expectations per article on both end. (hence this thread)

        Originally Posted by patojag View Post

        I say pay per article or per job.
        Originally Posted by Gambino View Post

        Bingo.

        Time is irrelevant for article writing, pay for the project. What's the value of a well written 500 word article?

        I pay $10.80 on iWriter for some decent and some bad articles that I rewrite myself when I'm looking for decent writers to hire to write for me. Those are for 1,000 words.

        It takes me 60-90 minutes to write about a topic that I know about, which includes time to do a little research to make sure I know what I think I know. I never write under 1,000 words.
        Thanks for the input.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShawnLim
    I guess it all depends on which niche you are in.
    Usually, if I'm writing an article in the niche I focused on, I can write more than 1,000 words in an hour.
    However, if it is a different market, I need more time to think and research.
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  • Profile picture of the author GetPLRhere
    Once you get the article, you probably should be able to tell if it's well written or not.

    It would take me about 1.5 hours to write a quality 400-500 article on common subjects. Let's face it, a good article is not writing a blog post. There's a lot of brainstorming involve. Then there might also be some researching involve if the writer is not an expert on the subject. Even if you supply the writer with materials, he will still need to Google up some information. Even Ph.d's use Google and the public libraries.

    To finish it off, there's grammar and style check, resorting in a few revisions and touch-ups here and there.

    I agree with the guy above. Pay flat fee instead of hourly.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Depending on the niche, this is absolutely a realistic timeframe, even for a 500-word article. I'm writing one right now that involves taking a complex medical treatment and condensing it down so the layman can understand it. It's the research that takes the longest (for me, anyway). The actual writing of the article only takes about an hour or so.

    Keep in mind, writing is much more than just sitting down and typing out words on a computer. It involves research, brainstorming, thinking and writing. This is why I always charge by the project. If I charged by the hour then every single client would say "This is an easy article, it should only take an hour or less."

    If you writing is writing quality content, don't second guess them on how long it takes. It's probably one of the biggest pet peeves among freelancers.
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  • OK, "to write a simple 400-500 word article?" 30 to 35 minutes. That's quick research, write, edit, submit. I know people that do it in 15, but I've never seen their work. Check out INA by Jon Leger, they have some pretty good writers. Always pay the research fee and maybe the 4-5 star writer fee. Cost would be about $6 for 500 words. They'll usually have it back to you in 3 days or less, especially if you're paying those extra fees.
    Stef
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    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by BeenThereDoneThat View Post

      OK, "to write a simple 400-500 word article?" 30 to 35 minutes. That's quick research, write, edit, submit. I know people that do it in 15, but I've never seen their work. Check out INA by Jon Leger, they have some pretty good writers. Always pay the research fee and maybe the 4-5 star writer fee. Cost would be about $6 for 500 words. They'll usually have it back to you in 3 days or less, especially if you're paying those extra fees.
      Stef
      $6 for 500 words? Seriously? No wonder it's getting harder and harder to make a living as a writer.

      My rate starts at $50 for 500 words. It goes up with the complexity and word count. I also know writers who regularly get $100+ per 500 words. If an IMer came up to them and asked them to write an article for $6, they'd fall over laughing.

      Whoever pays $6 deserves what they get.
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      • Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

        $6 for 500 words? Seriously? No wonder it's getting harder and harder to make a living as a writer.

        My rate starts at $50 for 500 words. It goes up with the complexity and word count. I also know writers who regularly get $100+ per 500 words. If an IMer came up to them and asked them to write an article for $6, they'd fall over laughing.

        Whoever pays $6 deserves what they get.
        He did say simple and I quoted it in my reply..LOL
        On INA (IneedArticles.com) a "simple" SEO article pays $3.75 to the writer, costs $5.00 for the client. They have experienced writers with 4 to 6 years of writing experience. Text Broker is more expensive, but even there you can probably get 500 words with research for about $8 or so. It's a dog eat dog world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daye
    Once I know what I'm writing I would estimate about 1 hour for actually writing/research and then another 30 minutes for editing and re-editing, for a 500 word article.

    If I'm simply writing an opinion piece or something related directly to a topic I'm already well informed, I can do it in 30 minutes.

    I have never hired for content services but I have always thought that going per job would be the best option. I had a VA who took 8 hours to do what I could do in 3 hours, and even though I could "review" his work throughout the day, it was still obviously exaggerated.
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  • Profile picture of the author obaynes
    Man, this thread is rife with bottom-barrel content mill standards. Two hours for a 500 word piece is maybe realistic for something where the writer just skims Google's top 10 results and re-organizes information in a way that will beat Copyscape. It's not even close for an original piece that is worth a damn.

    I'd love to see links to what people consider "acceptable" for a 500-word piece churned out in one hour. Any actual professional writer told to do that, or to accept $6 for 500 words wouldn't even take the time to laugh at you before walking out the door.

    OP, if the central issue is billable hours, stop billing by the hour. Pay by the word instead, or a flat fee for the completed piece.
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  • Profile picture of the author patojag
    I say pay per article or per job.
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  • Profile picture of the author tristatemedia
    30 seconds : i outsource it to upwork or freelance. but i use to use software to write articles and it took me 30 minutes per article
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  • Profile picture of the author napalmus
    If you want a cheap, churn and burn article many authors will get you one in a few minutes. You get what you pay for.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I always quote a flat rate for articles I write. Then the amount of time is up to me.
    Part of the job entails: research, reading, editing and proofreading on top of the actual writing. If I'm an expert in the niche, I can usually get a 500 article done in 30-40 minutes. If it's on a topic I know nothing about, I need more research and reading time.

    Don't go for hourly rates as I'm sure there are unscrupulous writers who will deliberately make it take longer so they make more from each job.
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    • Profile picture of the author wordsandthebees
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      I always quote a flat rate for articles I write. Then the amount of time is up to me.
      Part of the job entails: research, reading, editing and proofreading on top of the actual writing. If I'm an expert in the niche, I can usually get a 500 article done in 30-40 minutes. If it's on a topic I know nothing about, I need more research and reading time.

      Don't go for hourly rates as I'm sure there are unscrupulous writers who will deliberately make it take longer so they make more from each job.
      I charge per hour however I provide my quote in advance and if I go over the time quoted that's my own tough luck!

      If the article requires some basic research I can provide a well-written 500-word article in one hour .

      If the subject is of a higher level and requires extensive research and learning, I will quote 90 minutes. Again, if I go over that time it's no one's problem but mine!

      I know that I can reasonably achieve those milestones within those time frames including research, and language and grammar checks.

      I'd certainly be questioning 2.5 hours for 500 words, even with research...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    It takes as long as it takes.

    If no research is required I can bang one out on 10 minutes.

    If it's a topic I know nothing about it can take well over an hour or two or could even take a whole day.

    There are people who specialize writing about specific things. They will cost you more but their quality and turn around time will be quicker.
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    • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
      Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

      It takes as long as it takes.

      If no research is required I can bang one out on 10 minutes.

      If it's a topic I know nothing about it can take well over an hour or two or could even take a whole day.

      There are people who specialize writing about specific things. They will cost you more but their quality and turn around time will be quicker.
      You nailed it Jill.

      These days, I do 99% of my writing for myself, either content for my various websites or fiction for Kindle, but back when I wrote content for clients, a standard piece was around 1,000 - 1,200 words and I would set aside a working day to research, draft, write, edit and complete each piece of content.

      The emphasis was 100% upon quality; speed wasn't a factor.

      Clients paid me between $150 - $250 for each piece and were happy to do so. In fact I still work for just one of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author EPoltrack77
    After I have done all my research and understand what I am going to write about it will take me around 10 to 15 minutes to write the actually article but then I need a little more time just to go through it and optimize it for search if that is what I am doing which I do that will every piece of content I created just for that chance of extra free traffic. ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    There are the ho-hum, generic "I just need to churn out content" articles, and then there are the kind of article where getting it down to 500 quality words is harder than 1,000. One poster mentioned an article putting a complex medical topic in layman's terms.

    I forget the writer (Sam Clemens, maybe) that wrote in a personal letter something to the effect of "I'm sorry this letter is so long. I didn't have time to write a shorter one."

    That said, I agree with the others who say pay by the article, not the hour. Even if the writer is scrupulously honest, working by the hour leads to the temptation to do "just one more polish" and the hours add up.

    Bottom line, if content-mill quality is good enough, buy from the content mills. If you want quality craftsmanship, buy from a quality craftsman.
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  • Profile picture of the author essmeier
    I write a 1000-1200 word blog post in about 17 minutes. That is, of course, once I've decided what I'm going to write about.

    Charlie
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  • Profile picture of the author Cleberl1
    First of all a decent article has a minimum of 1000 - 1500 words and it takes hours to write an epic article.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by eliteprime View Post

    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you guys to write a simple 400-500 word article?

    The reason I'm asking is we recently hired a full time VA on UpWork who was apparently an academic professor in another country. The quality of work was acceptable though it took the individual 2.5 hours for each article (500 words).

    Base on what I've experience with our other article writers and my own experience, I thought this was rather surprising. It'd be interesting to hear and see how long it takes you guys to write a good 500 word article.

    Presuming these premise:
    - The content is properly researched/fact-checked
    - The content is articulated effectively
    - A good piece of content overall.

    Even with these considerations, I cannot comprehend how it'd take 2.5 hours to write one 500 word article.
    If I know the topic well, I'm guessing it takes me approx an hour to write a 500 word article
    It really depends on how much research is required on the topic for me
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  • Profile picture of the author gingerninjas
    Hi,

    I think it always really depends on the industry and the client - however as a guide I would say the time it takes for blogs / articles - see below:

    400 – 600 words – perfect for a basic blog used to engage a client base. They’re not super in-depth but they keep up interaction and help to build relationships with your audience. 45 minutes + spell checking + grammar checking and I would usually leave them for a few hours and go back to them to re-check to be sure. Topics are usually fair easy and I use a couple of basic references found online.

    700-800 words – Slightly lengthier than your average blog; this length gets more social media shares as you can be more in-depth and you have chance to hit on some really relevant points. Same about the grammar and spell checking used above - I would say 1.5hrs to 2 hours to write

    Up to 1500 words (more of an article for LinkedIn) – this would usually take 3hours as this length would require a bit more research and I would need to get some solid information and referencing for this.

    Every client needs a different thing, I always include enough time to spell check and do grammar checks and allow myself to edit and re-edit any work that I do.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author aizaku
      Originally Posted by essmeier View Post

      I write a 1000-1200 word blog post in about 17 minutes. That is, of course, once I've decided what I'm going to write about.
      DAMN you're fast!

      Originally Posted by gingerninjas View Post

      Up to 1500 words (more of an article for LinkedIn) - this would usually take 3hours as this length would require a bit more research and I would need to get some solid information and referencing for this.
      Yup this is about my speed...

      TIP: if you guys are in the market for writers, this is the thread to find them in!
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  • Profile picture of the author FreedomBlogger
    I agree with most of the replies here - it really depends on the Niche (topics).

    Are you including the research and proofreading in the time?

    If so, 2.5 hours is more than fair. I would even say that is fast!

    But if you are only taking about just Writing the Article - with the research already done - then 2.5 hours can be a bit too long.

    Research alone can take some time. It really depends on the topics you are researching. So you can't really say how long it can take.

    But the writing part, when the research is already done and all facts are clear, should take about an hour or less.

    If I already have the research done and I have the information I need - I can knock out a 500 words article in like 15 - 30 minutes or even less.

    And I'm a high school dropout. I think I should also mention that I moved to the US from South America at the age of 15. If I can write good content fast, I think anyone with a better past can do way better than me. Right? lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Arjen231
    500 word article would take a half day to write in average. That's how much I usually spend.
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    • Profile picture of the author wordsandthebees
      Originally Posted by Arjen231 View Post

      500 word article would take a half day to write in average. That's how much I usually spend.
      Do you mind me asking what field you write in? Or is that half a day regardless of the subject?
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      • Profile picture of the author Arjen231
        Originally Posted by wordsandthebees View Post

        Do you mind me asking what field you write in? Or is that half a day regardless of the subject?
        I write on Business and Startups. Rarely on self-improvement and productivity.
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  • Profile picture of the author jogunn
    Writing content will depend on the article and the niche. How much research is needed and how knowledgeable the writer is on the topic.

    If I am writing simple keyword articles I can bang them out pretty fast around 30 mins per 500 word article but if the content requires more details, more research then it can take me much much longer
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Depends.

    Some topics require more research time than others. I research from reliable websites, news articles and the library.

    For a top quality article I'll get quotes from experts by phone or email.

    I find an angle that's unique and hasn't already been done to death.

    Then I write a title that's enticing, but clear. Sometimes I wait until the article is complete before deciding on the final title.

    I write the article using an engaging lead for the first paragraph, then guide the reader from one step to the next. I conclude with something that ties the article all together.

    Adding a little zip of personality makes the writing more enjoyable. Telling a story draws the reader in and makes then want to know how it ends.

    I reread and edit the article. Then I do one final proofread.

    This process can take two hours or a couple of days.

    Obviously, a blog post based on personal experience or opinion can be done much faster.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author fwe
    It differ from man & man, Niche to Niche. Such as I know Technology NICHE, I can write it easily within a short time. On the flip side if one give me another NICHE, it will take time. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Craigcmatthew
    If I'm honest, it takes me a day to write a 500-word article and then I'm exhausted for the next few days. Usually I can write about 4-5 articles in a good week. You may not believe me but it's true. This is why I've been outsourcing all my writing work for the past 6 months. I could've saved about $1500 if I wrote all those articles myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Musa Hassan
    It is take lot of time because i have no interest. I took 2 hours to write.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    Around 30 or 40 minutes for appox 500 words, if I'm 'feeling it'... otherwise I outsource it.
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  • Profile picture of the author PLR Basket
    To be perfectly honest, I can write a perfectly factual 500 word article in less than 30 minutes, but you shouldn't expect that from every writer. I'm just very good at researching and have been doing this for many years.

    Most writers will take a lot longer than that.

    But the real question is, why hire a VA when you can hire an actual writer and pay per words?
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    With ALL the presumptions....probably 15 to 20 minutes on Average

    - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author imnathanjames
    It would take me an hour maybe an hour and a half.

    I'm not a great writer, i would need to check everything i wrote and my mind has a bad habit of just wandering off.

    If I do pay for an article there's a guy I use and he takes a day. I don't mind as i'm never in a rush for articles, and he's very much in demand.
    I also only per for the article, not by the hour.
    Some pay by hour employees have a habit of stretching time out.
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  • Profile picture of the author apollo gabriel
    It depends on the article that I am writing,

    Pressuring oneself to finish the article is not an option, specially if that compromise

    the quality and content of the article, a research must be done well to build and maintain

    the credibility
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  • Profile picture of the author dmgwriting
    In my experience it depends on the topic. If it is a relatively new subject to me, it will take me longer. Especially if it is a very specific niche, that I don't have much knowledge on. I will still provide quality content, however it will take me longer. Maybe up to 2 hours, possibly even 2 and a half.

    If it is a topic that I am quite knowledgeable on, or perhaps enjoy the topic, it may take me less time to research it, if necessary. As you mentioned it is academic writing, I suppose there would be some statistical and factual information needed. It could be 30 mins or just over an hour. It depends really!

    It seems to me that your client may not be as knowledgeable on the topic as you would like. Also consider how much you are paying them, this is very important. It could be a motivation factor for the client, or maybe they just aren't as qualified as someone that you would pay a higher rate to.
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  • Profile picture of the author kharim
    Most of the times I rather to write my own article rather than paying a person to write for me.

    To make blog post writing easier, what I normally do is gather my ideas and main points that I want to bring out in the post first.

    I next jot down headings/sub-headings and then begin writing.

    To make it even easier I use a voice to text app to type for me.

    Sol within 10 minutes I can do a 500 worded article.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    how long does it take you guys to write a simple 400-500 word article?
    46 minutes and 13 seconds, of course.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Of course, my foot! I wrote one yesterday took me 47 minutes, and 7.34 seconds.

      To actually help the OP: It depends on topic and the writer's knowledge of topic. If cost is your concern, pay by the word or job.

      Can you write an article about rate buy downs in mortgages in less than 2.5 hours?

      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      46 minutes and 13 seconds, of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author choco chum
    It should not take more than 45 minutes if you have a sample article, your Competitors pieces of work and the most creative tool is your brain, how you rearrange, edit, compile, add and organise it.
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  • If the topic is difficult and the person writing it has no prior knowledge about it, that would actually be a really good turn around time for a good quality article. It just depends on the topic.
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    I am not a writer but at some point in my life I've tried writing an article for myself haha
    I did acquire a writing service too, it took a maximum of 3 days for her to finish a 350 words article.
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