Writing assignment vs Free writing
The restrictions applied itself, usually exist due to different nature of your client's need; what is it for? who their target markets are? where it will be published? And those considerations dictates almost directly about what writing style should be applied, and what sort of information and story it should contains.
And what's not less important, is the media's physical and technical limitations, meaning if the article you need to write will occupy an A4 single page (about 400 words), sending a 1,200 words article wouldn't wow your client, but driving their editor crazy instead.
And if you even have the feeling to debate on the need to expand the article into a three pages feature, please understand that most times that's not even your client's decision, and absolutely not yours to make. Stick to the constraints and you'll get a happy client. Fail to understand that, or write something absolutely different from the concept approved, and you can kiss the hope of future assignments goodbye.
In your search of the story though, most of the time you'll get more story than you need. What you'll do with those? Throw them away?
Don't! Put them all together into a form of free writing; a narrative, and often just-flowing, less structured writing that includes all the stories you capture on the assigned subject. This way you'll get a pool of reference that you could use later on, to write on another assignment. After all just like artwork, no writing is completely novel, it's just the different arrangements and components that goes into your writing that will determine its uniqueness and creativity.
Therefore, as a good practice to apply for writing assignments; do the free writing first, then later scoop from it components that required to form the writing assignment. This way you don't throw away precious informations (which could be useful for your next projects), and your client get what they're looking for, along with the high chance for repeat order. Couldn't imagine a happier ending than that. (byms)
About author: Bayu Amus
Bayu Amus is a gastronomic storyteller and Food Experience designer. He pens food articles for travel magazines, speaks on food events, and was part of the team who compiled Makansutra Indonesia 2013, the pocket book which showcases Bali’s best street food. Contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org