Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hurry up and wait

Had a very productive morning. A regular client asked me to handle a project urgently. I don't mind - this client always gives me enough time to do my work, his instructions are always clear and he pays well and on time. So urgent from him does not mean disorganised. But it meant that I had to reschedule the day somewhat to get the job done. Now it's sent and client is happy.

Spending the rest of the day rewriting an article. Nothing structurally wrong with it, but it was an analysis piece and it turns out publisher was not quite comfortable with the mild criticism aimed at one of their clients ( didn't know the company was a client:-)! I stand by the analysis, but am going to write something more vanilla for client. Maybe I could sell the contentious piece elsewhere.

Went to bed with a raging headache and woke up with my head still throbbing though, cos work at the beginning of the week was stressful. On Monday morning a new client came through an agency I use and she needed newsletter copy translated into 2 more languages by today at the latest. So I asked her to send me the document so I could asses the scope of the work and give her a quotation.

Two emails and two phone calls later, I still don't have the info I need to give her the quotation, never mind starting the work, and I don't know if the client still sees me doing the job or not. I spent Monday morning wading through other client work and rescheduling what I could to accomodate her as per her request. Then I waited... and waited...

I really, really HATE dislike waiting like that. It makes me feel disorganised, wastes my time, and the stress just saps my energy, which makes me no good for anything else while I wait. A good friend suggests that urgent work like that is not worth the money I could earn from it, and just adds to my stress level. I think maybe I have to learn to include cut off dates for clients to send me information I need for each deadlined work, because waiting endlessly reduces the time I need to work on the project to deliver on agreed timelines. But I also don't want to be perceived as a prima donna who can't handle the heat:-)


It will all get done and soon I'll be back to my usual writing rhythm. But these issues made me appreciate that when you work with clients, sometimes your time is not your own, even when you work from home and reputedly, you have flexi-hours.

9 comments:

tiah said...

Ach - I hear these stories all the time. The disorganisation wasting time of others - hurts productivity of everyone. I think your idea - if I am going to do A you need to do B by C - is a good one.

Stephanie Faris said...

They always said "you'll always have a boss, no matter what you do in life." Either your "boss" is someone who directly supervises you or, if you freelance or own your own company, your clients. That's why I love writing...but, as this shows, we STILL answer to someone, even though most of our work is done in solitude!

Lori said...

I hate that too, Damaria. Just move on. I've learned from years of being yanked around that waiting wastes billable time. Move on and when she comes back, she can get in line. :)

Pamela said...

Do you think it would help if client is told, "If the information I need to do your job is not forthcoming by X day at Y time, I will bill you for the number of hours past the deadline for information when I invoice you for the job."? Lori, is right: time is money for anyone in business. You should have a right to charge for waiting time if you've given client a deadline and they fail to meet it. Or am I just a writer gone crazy by idiot demands from the unschooled in the art of editing and writing?

Damaria Senne said...

I don't think writers can charge for waiting time. While it wastes your tie, you're not actually doing the client's work and you are free to reschedule your time for a more profitable venture, then tell the client to get in the queue behind more prompt clients if and when they come back to you with the scheduled work. I think maybe a workable solution is to tell a client who is late that
a) you estimated that it would take X number of days to do the job
b) In view of the fact that material was delivered late, the deadline will move and work will be delivered at new deadline of 1st deadline + lost time. Obviously, the client still has the option to take their business elsewhere, where they can insist on urgency despite the fact that they were the ones holding up the job. And I think that's why we writers don't do that; because we don't want to rock the boat and are afraid of losing business.

Rebecca E. said...

hopefully this isn't a overly un-productive waste of time, after all you still have said blog, but yes it's happened more times than I can count, which means a bit more stress and a lot more re-writes.

PS, you and PAm are doing an awesome job on this blog

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks Rebecca. I'm glad my partnership with Pam on this blog and in our writing careers is working out so well.

Pamela said...

Wow, Rebecca,coming from a reader I really appreciate that comment. I'm grateful to D for letting me join her on Storypot.She's a real blessing to me.

Rebecca E. said...

Damaria is awesome, and I enjoy reading both your posts, keep them coming!

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