Re: Estimating hours per page

Subject: Re: Estimating hours per page
From: Herman Holtz <holtz -at- CLARK -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 07:53:45 -0500

On Mon, 6 Feb 1995, Jeremy Walters wrote:

> Win Day was interested in how to estimate the number of pages required to
> write a page of text.

> There are many formulae out there. I tend to estimate on the basis of 3 or 4
> pages of new text in an 8-hour day. This includes pages taken up with screen
> images, indexes and so on. Though a lot of the time I write a good many more
> pages than this in a day, sometimes the going is a lot slower, so it averages
> out.

What I am doing is not exactly technical writing (although I did do that a
couple of centuries ago); I write how-to books on a variety of subjects
for business people and professionals. I find that 4 pages/day is a good
standard by which to measure my output and estimate the time a new book
will require (assuming that I have a pretty good estimate of the final
page count).

I believe technical writing--documenting equipment or systems created by
others--is a far different proposition in that rate of output is (or was,
in my experience when I was doing such writing) dependent on the quality
and abundance of technical input information available. There were cases,
when I was documenting weapons systems and space systems, when it was
difficult to get more than engineering drawings and grudgingly granted
brief interviews with engineers and scientists, and one had to dig down
deeply for ideas to cope with the drought of information.

I hope things have changed for the better in today's technical writing

* * *
Herman Holtz [holtz -at- clark -dot- net]: Marketing Consultant/Proposal Specialist,
Writing & Ghost Writing Services, 35 years experience. Author of 60+
professional/business books, including best-selling How to Succeed as an
Independent Consultant (Wiley). PO Box 1731, Wheaton, MD 20915. Tel:
301-649-2499. Fax: 301-649-5745.

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