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Writing Jobs From Hell Contest: Share Your Worst Client Horror Stories

Evan Jensen

Writing Jobs From Hell Contest. Makealivingwriting.comEver had one of those writing jobs that made you want to vomit, smash something with a hammer, or scream profanities into a pillow?

It happens. Just about every freelance writer has at least one horror story to tell about terrible clients, deranged editors, ever-changing demands, slave-labor wages, or maybe even no payment at all.

What’s one of your worst writing jobs?

If your blood pressure is on the rise just thinking about it, hopefully you learned a thing or two from the experience. You know what I mean: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If you do your part to find great clients, you’re a lot less likely to work with the kind of crazy-making clients that give you nightmares months after you severed ties and swore off working for them ever again.

But before you cut up that worst-writing-job assignment into tiny little pieces, douse it in gasoline, and laugh maniacally as it burns to ashes, we want to hear about it.

Share your worst client horror story for a chance to win. Here’s what you need to know about the “writing jobs from hell” contest:

Remember one of your worst writing jobs?

Every freelancer has a worst writing jobs story. If you don’t, you’re either not working very hard, you’re brand new to freelancing, or your day of reckoning is imminent. Need something to jog your memory?

  • Maybe you’re on the crazy-train right now with an impossible client, wondering how and when you’re going to escape.
  • Maybe you’re so sick of the excuses about getting paid, you’re about ready to show up in person, bust through the doors, and demand payment.
  • Or maybe everything started out great, and now the whole project is unraveling. And it’s eating up valuable time you could spend on marketing or writing for better clients.

My worst writing job: I’ve had a few crappy gigs over the years. But the one that still gets me fired up was for a trade magazine for the tow truck industry. Not my niche. But when the editor reached out for help to salvage a poorly-written cover story by another writer, I figured I’d use my journalism chops for an easy $500.

Basically, I had to start from scratch with interviews, research, writing and rewriting. I turned the assignment in on time and waited a reasonable amount of time for payment. Then excuses started rolling in. Then they stopped returning my emails. Then the site went down and the trade pub folded, and that five hundred bucks and a few hours of my life were gone forever. Oh Ffff…iddlesticks!

Contest rules: Share your worst client horror stories

What’s one of your worst writing jobs? We want to hear about it. Share your worst client horror stories for a chance to win. Here’s how:

  • Post your worst client story in the comments below
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Contest ends: Sunday, June 16 at midnight Pacific.
  • We’ll review all the submissions and announce the winners here and via email in about a week.

Prizes for the worst client horror stories include:

Grand prize: A one-year membership in the Freelance Writers Den.

Runner up 1: A one-month membership in the Freelance Writers Den.

Runner up 2: A copy of the book: Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share How They Find Clients, Stay Motivated and Earn Well Today.

Good luck, everyone! And here’s to great clients to come.

And the winners are…

Grand Prize: Rhiannon D’ Averc

  • Lesson learned: Never, ever, under any circumstances, work in an actual content-mill sweat shop for room and board and low pay.

1st Runner Up: Courtney Ralls

  • Lesson learned: When it’s time to negotiate rates, stick to your guns, and never accept anything less than your minimum.

2nd Runner Up: Paul Haluszczak

  • Lesson learned: If you don’t have a contract, defined scope of work, agreed-upon rates in writing, and you’re getting the assignment from your client through a sketchy interpreter, you’re better off walking away.

What’s your worst client story? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline, or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultramarathon

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