As freelancers, the number of words we can write in a given hour can directly determine our income. On the surface, it makes sense to say that, if we can write faster, we’ll earn more money. At the same time, though, even if you can type 120 words per minute, that doesn’t necessarily translate into the pay rates we’d all like to see. Most writers hit an upper limit of good words they can write in a given day and while we can all bang away at the keyboard for hours after we’ve reached that limit, it’s usually pretty obvious that things aren’t going quite as well.
The Quality Over Quantity Question
At the end of the day, if you’re pushing for quantity, the quality of your writing can suffer to the point that most editors don’t want to see it — I’ve had editors reject articles that I wrote on days that I also punched out page after page of content. And if you set aside more time for editing than you might otherwise, you can easily wind up spending more time on an article than you might otherwise. It’s not out of the question that you could need to rewrite the entire piece!
There is a financial question, as well. If you’re shooting for higher pay rates — maybe those dollar per word publications — quality can become absolutely crucial. It’s not just the work that you’re submitting to editors who have big budgets for freelance writers, either. When you’re querying, you can bet that many editors will type your name into a search engine and take a look at what else you’ve written.
The rates that better publications pay can make it worth your while to focus on quality, as well. It is perfectly possible to make a living writing just a few hundred words a day, provided that they are the right words.
Quantity is Still Important
Of course, quantity is still a factor. If you can write more each day, without giving up quality, that’s a good thing. It’s worth working out your writing muscles: push yourself so that you can add a few more words each day. Setting yourself a quota that you have to meet each day can be a useful approach. Every couple of months, up the quota. It doesn’t have to be by much — adding an extra hundred words to your daily output is no small step.