If you’ve been freelance writing for quite sometime now (meaning you’ve had your fair share of hair-pulling and teeth grinding moments), you’ve no doubt come across some nightmarish projects that vow to keep you up all night as you struggle to finish meeting an agreed upon a fair deadline. You already partitioned your work and probably even delegated it to a college or two (very good!), but the problem is that you just finished downloading the latest episode of your favourite TV shows from the iTunes store (whose funding comes courtesy of your recently completed projects) and simply couldn’t wait to watch all of them. You load them up and go through them one by one, only to realise that you now only have a handful of minutes before your client needs a final, non-advisable version of your work. You try to squeeze in as much as you could before your clock’s hands march upon that fateful position on its face. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you could do to cut its legs off.

Welcome to the grim reality we all have to face as freelance writers! It’s not so much that your client grips you with an iron fist: it’s more about failure on your part to discipline yourself enough to get stuff done. We all indulge in a little bit of human error once in a while, but how do you pick up the pieces as a freelance writer in the event of an epic fail on your part?

  1. Apologise – you aren’t exactly winning a client back by blaming him for your missed deadline due to his “outrageous time requirement.” Suck it up, swallow your pride and just say sorry. Admitting your fault when it really is yours shows you don’t have a habit of lying and making up fabricated excuses behind your computer screen, which aids in repairing the trust between both parties. When you’re working with people halfway around the world, trust becomes a scarce commodity and could very well be your most valuable asset.
  2. Analyse – once you’ve owned up to your failure, learn from it by analysing what exactly went wrong. Both budding and veteran freelance writers should never lose the desire to learn from their mistakes simply because the lessons you”ll be gleaning from them will be the only silver lining you’ll ever allow yourself in such situations. Once you’ve gotten to the root, weed it out of your writing system by establishing methods and procedures to avoid the same thing from happening (in our aforementioned case, watch your downloads AFTER your projects are done).
  3. Discipline – now that you know where you went wrong, vow never to go there again. EVER. Have enough decency to discipline yourself for the sake of your client and colleagues, as well as for all the freelancers the world over. No one ever said freelance writing would be easy, much less being your own boss (lots of power + no control = crazy writing business). Get a hold of yourself to get a hold of more valuable repeat business!
  4. Add Value – you’ve missed your deadline and created a stir halfway around the world. After you’ve sorted things out with your client, offer to sweeten the deal between the two of you by throwing in some added value their way (within your capacity, of course). They’ve got a handful of articles they’re having trouble assigning to other people? Take them in and offer to do a fraction of them free of charge. It may seem like more work for no pay on your part, but getting on your client’s good side is already an uphill battle to begin with. Fight for their trust and take no prisoners!

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