3 Dumb Freelance Writing Mistakes I Haven't Made

I posted 5 dumb freelance writing mistakes I've made in hopes that you won't make them too - and now I'd like to share 3 dumb freelance writing screw-ups I haven't made so you won't make those, either.  In all, there are seven big, dumb freelance writing mistakes you can avoid (well, there are more out there, but hoepfully these lists cut down your ibuprofen budget).

Dumb freelance writing screw-up #1: Writing without a contract.

Sure, paper doesn't guarantee anything - but it does increase the likelihood that you will get paid and that your clients fully understand the scope of a project.  It also gives you a leg to stand on if someone owes you money you've earned and you need to take them to court.

Dumb freelance writing screw-up #2: Not holding people accountable.

Yep, it's about money again.  If somebody owes you money, let them know they owe you money.  The first thing I do after sending documents to a client is send an invoice.  The invoice states the amount, the date due and gives the client payment options.  If they owe you past their due date, send them another invoice - and keep checking in until you've got your money (because that's just what it is - your money).

Dumb freelance writing screw-up #3: Blowing off deadlines.

It's okay to take a break.  It's not okay to miss deadlines.  Freelance writing isn't like a restaurant job, for example.  If you forget to take drinks to table 32, they're going to be mad - but a friend might refill their coffee, or they might just stiff you on the tip.  If you forget to send a document to a client who needs it, you'll never work for them again - and on top of that, you didn't hold up your end of the bargain (the one in the contract you won't write without)... so technically, you broke your legal obligation to your client and they don't owe you anything.

Have you avoided some fairly common freelance writing mistakes?  What were they, and how did you spot them before you screwed up?

© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on FreeFreelanceWritingTips.Blogspot.com, it's stolen.