A misconception that often accompanies hiring a professional writer is that the writer will do everything. The reality is a shifting of responsibilities. Most of what ultimately finds its way on to the page comes from the client. Content development relates directly to the quality of the final product. Good writing requires ongoing communication to develop the underlying content and express the client’s ideas. Sometimes the process is easy, other times it is slow and challenging. It is important to find a writer you feel comfortable communicating with and who understands the process of working with clients.
Ask questions about how the writer will work with you. Take communication seriously. Communication matters because it relates directly to developing the content. Failed communication will stall your project and cause frustration. It is important that a writer listens to your needs and wants. Clients often have trouble writing because they are unable to articulate all the working parts of their ideas. A strong writer will ask questions to help find the information that will build on the ideas you are expressing. Before choosing a writer, you should feel confident in the writer’s ability to work with you at every stage in the process.
Get an idea of your writer’s style before the first draft comes your way. Writing style is often expressed by the concepts of finding a voice or setting a tone. The truth is every writer has a default style they naturally fall back on. Inevitably your writer’s style will find its way into the work. If you’re unhappy with their default style it may have devastating consequences on the final product.
A dynamic writer can mimic other writing styles much like someone who speaks with different accents. Subtle changes in language and sentence structure can accomplish similar results. When a client seeks to embellish on their own voice a writer may simply rely on samples of a client’s previous writings. If a client has something more specific in mind, bringing a sample of another writer’s work will ensure the project is completed to expectation.
Inquire into the drafting process. Projects, generally, are limited in revisions and edits. Ask if a re-write of an unsatisfactory draft is considered a revision or is treated as a new draft. Be sure to ask about both the client and writer’s turn-around time for revisions and edits. The focus of a draft is on presenting the client’s message. Once a client is satisfied with a draft, the final stage is to tidy up any loose ends.
Make sure the writer understands your audience. Language can enhance or hurt the message. Using complex jargon is appropriate if the materials are technical or industry specific but distracting in other situations. In personal writing the language should represent the client’s character and experience. The same goes for technique. Getting caught up in grammar can distract from the content. Many writers place grammar first. Grammar is always important but plays a supporting role to the client’s message.
Be suspicious of services that offer super low prices. Writing takes time. Making a living writing requires reasonable compensation. The average is between $65 and $125 an hour. Most writers are freelance and pay their own overhead, taxes, and insurance. There is a reason we hear “you get what you pay for” so frequently. Unfortunately, high price doesn’t indicate quality. When choosing a writer, factoring in price is complicated. Consider how the writer’s policies handle dissatisfaction. Ask questions and get a written agreement to protect the relationship.