Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things I Do For My Clients...That I Don't Tell Them About

I just discovered RogueInk--this blog is absolutely hilarious, and I love the writing style. Perusing the archives, I found this little gem that mentions the crazy things we writers do for our clients--that we generally never tell them about.

This practically made me fall off my chair. I do all kinds of weird things that maybe I should brag about--and maybe I should really never tell anyone. Good judgement aside, here's my confession: five things I do for my clients that I never (except in this post) admit to.

I literally sit down to write at nine A.M., and don't get up until 4 P.M. I am not a workaholic. I am very careful about setting my deadlines so that I have plenty of time to get everything done. Even so, I get really, really involved in what I'm doing--sometimes I forget to eat all day, then look at the clock and realize it's time for dinner. Am I hungry? No. I'm too busy to be hungry. I generally don't include this little fact in my marketing material, because, makes me sound psycho.

I am paranoid about mistakes. I am a total grammar Nazi. Misplaced apostrophes and typos send me into red-faced, muttering rants. I live in terror that the ONE time I forget to spell check, I have a big, fat, glaring error right in the headline of the first draft I'm sending over to a brand-new, high-paying client. So I check everything over five, six, eight times before I send it.

If the job takes longer or is harder than I estimated, I won't bill you or ask for an extension. I am absolutely steadfast about the prices I quote. My view is that if I didn't understand the project at the outset, that's my problem. I will deliver at that price. And I'll meet that deadline too, even if I have to stay up all night for three days straight.

This actually did happen to me once. I made a bid on Elance for a job that sounded like it was nine pages long. The client was actually asking for THREE documents nine pages long. I quoted on the first scenario, then realized I hadn't read closely enough. My bad...I did it anyway, in the four days I'd promised.

I get really nervous every time I send a first draft to someone new. I want them to like it. I really, really want them to like it. In 99.9% of cases, they do. But every time I send something out to a new client, I check my email incessantly every five minutes afterward to see if they responded back. I can't think about anything else until I know that they don't hate the first draft.

I will research for hours to make sure I'm not giving bad info. I have seriously spent Herculean amounts of time on the web looking around for obscure information about fire sprinkler installation, luxury mattresses, and the life cycles of freshwater oysters to ensure what I'm writing about is true. Even for a dinky little keyword article.

And in general, I never tell my clients about any of it. (But just now--I did.)

Okay, so spill it: what do you do for your clients that they never hear about?


G Man said...

hey, if you like rogueink, you will love ittybiz. she is hilarious!

Unknown said...

Isn't Rogue Ink great? :))

What I do that I don't tell them - I sweat that deadline like it's my due date and I'm too big to waddle to the hospital. I can't be late. I just can't. It's against my genetic makeup.

Star Lawrence said...

I don't forget to eat--what planet do you live on? LOL. Also, I am creaky and would be incapacitated if I sat that long. I also only have one functioning eye and can miss an occasional weirdness, even tho I run spellcheck. I have asked for extensions--if I absolutely had to. Esp if the story is due Fri and I know they are not pouncing on it. You are very conscientious. I am, too, actually--I fret over facts, tone, last tidbits that can be added, shaping, etc.--so they don't have to. That's what professional writers do... You didn't reveal that you work weekdends, did you? Never tell them that!

Anonymous said...

You sit down at 9 and don't move until 7 hours later? I now have a nightmare vision of what your back and neck and shoulders and arms are going to look and FEEL like in a few years.... those teeny tiny repetitive keyboard and mouse movements are doing much more damage than you can imagine. Set a timer! Get up! Go for a walk in the middle of the day! Streeeeeeetch!

--horrified massage therapist

Anonymous said...

Your post makes me think not only about what I do for clients they don't know about but the kinds of fears we deal with as writers in general.

Yesterday I sent out the usual stories and was standing at the counter at the post office when I realized the last envelope was empty. It had it's SASE but no story. All the other envelopes were stamped, sealed, and shot off into the dark catacombs of the post office and I stood there with an empty envelope thinking: I put it in the wrong envelope. I was wavering on asking for them all back but then I realized I had already had a brief interior rant about the postal worker who was putting the stamps on my SASE totally crooked, throwing off the whole composition and I thought, maybe I'm a little too Monk today. That story's probably sitting on my printer.

I get home and it's not there. I'm terrified I sent the wrong story to some editor and my only chance at getting published in one of these award winning magazines will be shot down because the Editor thinks I'm retarded, which I will find out when they send it back with a small handwritten note on the envelope:

Next time straighten the stamps, nimrod.

Anonymous said...

"Okay, so spill it: what do you do for your clients that they never hear about?"

Charge them for therapy. Some clients will just drive you nuts! :-)

Opinonsmatter said...

I appreciated your section on 'what writers do that they don't tell their clients'. You take your work very seriously and you should be commended for it. Keep up the good work!