Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One Immediate Way to Increase Your Freelance Income by Up to 50%

How “Template Writing” can help you become a prolific income producer

When I first started writing outside of my niche – the business of creative freelancing – it took me some time to get the hang of things. I read other freelancer’s articles on certain subjects, eg, restaurant and product reviews, to see how it was done.

It took me some time to get a system down, but once I did, I was able to turn out a review or article in half the time. So, how did I speed it up? I created a “genre template.”

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What is Template Writing?

In short, formulaic writing. On FreeDictionary.com, template, as related to writing, is defined as "A document or file having a preset format, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used."

Example of a Writing Template

To use an easy example, take restaurant reviews. It’s a relatively new medium for me and one that I found tends to pay more than the other types of articles I like to write. So, I started to focus more on these.

My restaurant review template looks like this:

Intro: This includes things like background on the establishment, what I personally like about it, how I discovered it, etc.

The Food: Here, I discuss the menu selections, dishes I recommend and the drinks.

The Price: Usually, this is a few lines about the price (affordable, moderate, on the expensive side, gotta be rich and famous to afford to eat here). I may break it down by specific price for a few dishes (eg, appetizer, main course, dessert), or I may give an average cost of a meal for two.

The Service: Here I discuss how fast or slow the service is, if the staff is knowledgeable about the menu, do they easily allow for substitutions, and maybe the uniform.

Other Items of Note: This section highlights things of interest I think any first-time visitor might want to know. Eg, if the establishment has an outside seating area, music, dance floor, special nights for things like karaoke, menu specials, the parking situation (valet, not enough parking, etc.), banquet rooms, on/off-site catering, etc.

Summary: This is usually a one or two liner about the establishment. Eg, for a fun night out with your gang, Pepper’s is an easy-on-the-wallet rocking, good time!

My reviews may or may not include all of these sections; it depends on the establishment and my experience there.

BUT, having a template in front of me when I sit down to write seriously cuts down on the time it takes to organize/edit material, which, as any writer knows, can be more than half the time spent producing a piece.

A Note About Reviews: FYI, the crazy thing about reviews (product and restaurant) is that they are usually written in 400-500 words and, with a formula in place, can be completed in about 20 minutes (minus proofing and minor editing). Most of my articles take 30 minutes to slightly more than an hour to write (minus proofing and minor editing).

Creating a template for as many types of writing you do as possible can increase your output by 50% easily, ostensibly increasing your income by the same amount. So, go template happy – and watch your bank account increase.
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