No call, no show freelance writing

I have been shocked and amazed at the lack of professionalism displayed in the freelance writing world. On more than one occasion there have been freelance writers who have accepted a project, confirmed that they understand everything and agreed to the deadline, yet they don’t deliver. Not only do they not deliver, but they disappear completely. Recently, I hired a writer to help out with 10 short articles (less than 400 words). The writer seemed like they were in it for the money alone (which perhaps should have been a red flag for me) yet they seemed to be interested in doing the work. They asked several questions to make sure that they understood the instructions (about 4 emails back and forth), so I assumed that they were serious about completing the job.

Nope, they disappeared. Not a single email after that day. No response to my email asking about the status of the work. No call, no show. It set back my project, and I lost money. Time and money. I was furious. One of my good writer friends had a similar situation happen to them. Why do these people think that this is perfectly fine to do to someone?

If you are new to freelance writing, or even if you have been in this business for a while, please don’t do that. It reeks of unprofessionalism, gives good freelance writers a bad rap, and it is down right inconsiderate. If you can’t do the work, don’t accept the project. If you take a project and find that you don’t think the work is worth it, or if you are in over your head, own up to it and do the responsible thing and notify the buyer immediately. Walk away if you want to, but don’t put someone in a position where the deadline is reached and they have no one to replace you.

Personally, I question the integrity of anyone who would act interested in doing work, and then quit without providing any notification at all. That is no way to run a business, and sooner or later, that kind of behavior will come back to haunt you. If you want to be truly successful as a freelance writer, the honest way, take your work seriously. Clearly, if you can communicate about getting paid and taking a job, you can communicate and end a job, too. It takes a true professional to admit when they can’t or would rather not do something, and it is simply courteous to let your client know it’s over.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! Really unprofessional of the writer and outright inconsiderate!

    I would’ve liked to think that writers in general are sympathetic to other writers by nature of profession because we know how easily ‘words’ can be disregarded on a whim and we hold ‘words’ and communication to a much higher standard than normally would a non-writer; we stress over grammar and spelling and the right way to put something so that the idea/concept communicates through. But…there are bad seeds in every profession I guess…what a slap on the face!

  2. That is an excellent point, and it’s true. Words mean something to writers. I have noticed that words mean so much more to me than people around me who are not writers. I thought those writers would consider communication to be an important part of the business, but like you said, “there are bad seeds in every profession.”

  3. Wow… that’s horrible.

    Another thing to mention is that – if you are in over your head and can’t properly handle the project (which you should’ve known in the first place) – you should at least try to point the client in the right direction.


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