Whether you are a freelance writer or you work for someone else, missing a work deadline is bad. I pride myself on meeting or beating deadlines, and I use that as a prime selling point for getting freelance writing projects.
But life happens. You could be late for any number of reasons: illness, family emergencies, underestimating the time involved to complete the project, bad time management, procrastination, and in my story here — taking on too many projects combined with a client’s shifting schedule.
Why I Missed My Freelance Writing Deadline
As many of you know, my main freelance writing niche is writing supplements for college textbooks — lecture outlines, test questions, student study guides, and the like.
Awhile back I scored a well-paying and very interesting freelance writing assignment for a nonprofit organization that created an instructional guide. I provided test questions, a teacher’s manual, and key-term definitions.
Now here’s the deal: they created the guide chapter by chapter, and then I did my thing on each new completed chapter.
The problem: they fell behind on their publication schedule, and since I didn’t know when I’d be getting more material from them, I accepted other projects — and then suddenly they were ready with several new chapters all at once. What was already a very busy work schedule started looking downright difficult.
What to do?
Renegotiate a Freelance Writing Deadline: You Gotta Ask
We had a set of deadlines already worked out, but I had agreed to that when I thought I’d be getting those new chapters earlier when I had more time to work on them.
So I called my contact at the organization to explain my situation. Before I could begin, she apologized to me for the delays in getting me the material and asked how she could accommodate me. I then asked if we could revisit the deadlines and when she needed all the work completed. From there we created a new schedule, one that stretched the work out over a longer period and worked well for both of us.
Whew! You’ve heard the saying “Ask for what you want”? That was the right time and the right situation for doing just that.
Share Your Stories
How have you dealt with renegotiating deadlines? What’s your best advice? Your worst horror story?