Get Down with the Sickness

Posted on June 27th, 2008 By Under Thoughts

Falling ill while having work to get done used to be hard to get out of when you were stuck at a 9 – 5 job at the office. You’d have to call in, explain your situation to your boss or manager, and in some cases, get a note from your doctor that woud excuse your absense. I hated that! Now that I am a freelance writer, I don’t have anyone to deal with except my clients.

Talking to your clients isn’t always as “great” as it was when you had to explain your situation to a boss. Some lousy clients don’t see why you can’t just perk yourself up in bed and write the freelance writing projects they’ve sent you. I mean, you get to work at home! It’s not a real job, right? To us freelance writers, it is our job, and being ill is being ill. How should you handle your clients when you just don’t think your body could take 8 hours in front of a computer screen?

[image by cutglassdecanter]

Got the Morning Jitters

When you wake up and you get that feeling that you won’t be able to write, not because you are too lazy to do it, because your stomachs urging to show its contents to you or you are breaking out in fascinating sweats, be sure to take a good look at yourself. Are you really ill, or is it just that morning sickness crawling over you. Hop in the shower, throw on some clothes and sit at your computer. Still feeling sicker than all hell? If so, it might be time for an extra nap or maybe even a doctor’s visit.

Get in Touch with Those that Matter

If you’ve decided its time for you to take a freelance writer’s sick day, you aren’t scotch free and in bed, yet. You’ve got to let your clients know, especially if you had a project due with a deadline within the day or those coming. If you’ve have your clients phone number, put it to good use. Explain your situation to your client, and ask for a deadline extension or something else you can offer in trade for turning in their work late. I’ve offered a client a few extra articles in return for an extra day extension on a writing project I once had.

Take a Helping Hand

In some instances, your client may let you live out your illness only working you when you are high and dry out of the sick spells. There are those that still won’t understand why you can’t just work in bed, though. This is why I highly suggest you network with other freelance writers for hire. No one says you can’t hire them to help you out with work. Whether or not you want to inform your client that you are outsourcing the work they’ve sent you is up to you. I do it to stay honest, and always let them know the contact information in case they’d like them as a more permanent writer than me. It may lose me work, but it develops trust between you and a client. Trust brings many more clients running back to you for future projects.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Do It

Some cases leave you no other options. You asked your client for an extension with no love. You can’t find a freelance writer you trust enough to work on this project. You are the only one you know that can do this project. If you are truly ill, spread the work out over as much time as you have available. Take numerous breaks, sit the computer on your lap in bed, and drink plenty of water. Don’t forget to use medication. Working while sick isn’t glamorous, but sometimes clients don’t leave us with any other choice.

Have you ever fallen ill on an important deadline date? How did you handle it? Let me know through the comments or send me an email at contact@justindupre.com. I’m always open for a chat or ready to give some freelance writing advice if you have any questions for me.

Post Comments


  1. J says:

    I have a question…how do you keep a steady stream of work coming in? Do you get most of your clients via DP and WF?

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