Freelance writing is the Stockholm syndrome erected into a profession. The terrorist holds a gun to our head and we love them for it. (Or more as a friend of mine said ‘we’re the battered wives of the media business.’)
Why do relationships between writers and clients go wrong?
- Too-high expectations
- Bad briefs
- Writers don’t understand pressures on clients
- Not enough feedback
- Under- or late payment
- Editing by committee (AKA death by redlining)
- Editing by lawyer
- I surrender. Just tell me what to write.
What can we do about it? Often, writers just eat bitter weeds and tolerate the intolerable. Sometimes, we throw our toys out of the pram and quit. Between these two extremes, there are other options.
But remember, relationships don’t fail because we write badly. We have to work at the the other stuff too.
- Deliver on time
- Don’t add to you client’s stress
- Look for early warning signs
- Educate the client
- Be professional and take pride
- Understand your client
- Better briefs
- Good feedback
- Walk away, if you have to, but do it without anger
- Ring fence the bad clients; cherish the good ones
- Reduce your stress levels generally
- Improve your working environment
- Have a hinterland – get a hobby, friends, etc.
- Get more clients