Ruth Slavid talks architecture

Don’t expect closure – freelance post 9

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthslavid on January 16, 2013

It is great when you have completed a piece of work, it has been published, it looks good, there aren’t too many typos – and maybe even somebody says something nice about it.

Enjoying that feeling is perfectly reasonable – just don’t expect it to happen all the time. Because (next rule): 

You have to get used to your projects just trailing away.

Damn editors, I bet you think. But actually, most editors have such a hand-to-mouth existence that they can’t afford to kill your work unless it is truly dire (and yours won’t be, will it?).

It is true that few editors send out copies of their magazines, so you have to either buy a subscription or keep checking online (if there is no subscription barrier) to see your work actually appear. I’ve certainly written things and never seen them in print or on screen. But they are usually there.

Commercial clients can be much worse. Sometimes the project is in several stages, and you deliver the first stage and never hear again. Maybe they have massacred your work and re-used it, or quietly dropped it, or gone to someone else. This happens with brochures, company magazines, proposals for TV series, websites. While you are working on it, you are their best friend. Then you cease to exist.

There is no point in getting bitter about it. 

Don’t be bitter, just get paid. 

It may well be that you have got something out of the project after all. You may have made new contacts (not necessarily the people you are working for), you may have learnt something, you may even have acquired some information that you can use elsewhere.

It comes as a surprise if you have worked in magazines where deadlines are tight and money is short, to realise that often having more time does not improve the job. 

The more time and money the client has, the more they can afford to change their mind.

Commercial projects are often far more frustrating than editorial ones. Ideally you should work with a single contact, but they may be answerable to whole committees full of people.

None of this is to say that you shouldn’t do this work. But if you want the satisfaction of a job well done, of a projects that it is signed, sealed, delivered and produced, then you may wish, if you have the luxury, to choose your clients carefully.


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