Steps to Take When You’re Going to Miss a Deadline

Clock helping a writer stick to freelance writing deadlines.

If you’re a freelance writer, meeting your deadlines is one of the most valuable habits you can teach yourself. Not missing deadlines is essential if you want to maintain good relationships with clients and earn a reputation as a dependable person to work with. There will be times, however, when it may not be possible to meet a freelance writing deadline. When that happens, it’s important to know how to handle it in an appropriate and professional way.

There are any number of reasons why you might have to miss a deadline, from experiencing a medical emergency to being overwhelmed with other assignments. Here’s what to do when you realize that you’re not going to meet one of your deadlines:

Let your client know as soon as possible.

The closer the deadline is, the harder it will be for your client to make other plans. That’s why it’s important to be able to tell when you’re going to miss a deadline, and make a decision as early as you can. Timely communication is essential: If you only let your client know that you’re going to miss a deadline after you’ve already missed it, it’s safe to say that you probably won’t be able to work for that client again in the future.

Ask for an extension when necessary.

Let’s say that you’ve started working on an in-depth article that requires a great deal of research. You suddenly discover that you have a lot of information to go through. In fact, it may take a couple of weeks to finish sorting through. In cases like this, it’s best to contact your client right away and let them know what the situation is. You may be able to obtain an extensions so that you can do justice to the assignment.

Get the assignment done as fast as possible.

If you’ve missed a deadline and let your client know, it’s still important to finish the assignment as soon as possible. If you can get the assignment done and turned in the same day—or at least by the next morning—it can go a long way toward proving your professionalism and maintaining your relationship with your client.

Make it a rare occurrence.

Many employers will be understanding about missed deadlines, but it’s important to make sure that they don’t happen regularly. If you ask for an extension once, your client may understand. However, if you ask for extensions all the time, your client is going to start thinking of you as somebody who’s not easy to work with. Making a habit of meeting deadlines is a must if you want to establish a reputation for professionalism and dependability.

If you have questions about freelance writing, you’ll find the answers at Writers Work. We offer the tools you need to get started as an independent writer, including a library of informative videos, a downloadable eBook, and our handy job search engines. If you’d like to learn more, visit our website and check out our introductory video today!

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