Tonight, for the second time in as many months, I told a potential client “I can’t write that for you.”
This one was quite the lucrative offer.
But in both cases the subject matter was difficult to understand, the source material wasn’t clear. The one tonight asked me to watch a video that was an hour and seventeen minutes long. I sat down with the link at 10:30 p.m. I won’t mention the client, but the video was grainy, the sound quality was poor. The video was the only source. No notes. No outine. No talking points.
I was supposed to take this video and write an article in defense of their proposition.
Earlier in the day, not knowing the full details and jumping at the chance of a nice, tidy, and I thought simply acquired, paycheck, I said “Sure, I can do that.”
I was wrong, and I told the client so in an email just moments ago.
Look, I have no problem writing propaganda. Heck I’ve written political propaganda for decades. I’m even comfortable ghost writing something that I don’t necessarily agree with. But, I have to understand it. I’m sure I could have with this particular one, but not until after expending more effort.
A few weeks back after struggling with two articles for another client, I finally said “I can no longer write on this project.”
My time is valuable. My written words are valuable.
My job as a writer is to make you look, or sound, good. Your job as a client is to help me understand your message.
I’m really not established enough as a freelance writer to be turning down work. Then again, since this is one of three jobs that I work, I have to be selective.
That’s not arrogance. That’s the understanding that, as a writer, I know what I’m capable of producing. I know what is worth my time. Since I’ve been doing this a while, I know my strengths. I know my weaknesses.
I’ll admit I was a bit weak when I saw the price being offered for the assignment I just turned down.
I may live to regret this. I don’t think so.