Edit or Rewrite

As a freelance writer, some of my least favorite projects are those where the client wants me to rewrite an existing article. I have since learned that this type of statement, “It’ll only involve a little editing,” usually really means, “You’ll have to rewrite the entire article in order for it to make sense.” My advice to you, the freelancer, is try to determine in advance just how much “editing” you will have to do, otherwise be prepared to initiate a time consuming rewrite that won’t pay for itself.

My first sizable rewriting job was one I now call, “my blunder from down under.” By down under, I certainly don’t mean Australia – you have to dig a lot deeper to go to where it is hotter. Get it? A real “devil” of a job!

The job involved “editing” five articles by including new information and cleaning up verbiage and syntax. Or so I thought. As it turned out, each of the five articles lacked clear and concise purpose and failed to produce a tight and sensible conclusion. I saw the “writing on the wall” and decided that the editing job would need to turn into a complete rewrite in order to make any sense of them.

Two full days later my work was done after submitting the drafts to the client, having the client send back additional changes and comments, and resubmitting the final copies back to the client.

After this experience I was mentally exhausted and frustrated, but I learned a valuable lesson: work diligently to uncover what a job entails before agreeing to take on a project and/or leave open the possibility that your price may change [read: will increase] should extra work be involved.

It was a tough lesson learned, but I found out that the “devil” is really in the details when it comes to accepting a rewriting project. Either way it is “work” for you!