by David Tandet

A couple of weeks ago I got the following note from the editor:

“Thank you for meeting the commitment to send the feature to Andrea Scott with copy to me before the end of the day yesterday. I know the deadline was very tight, and it’s a pleasure to find someone like yourself who rises to the occasion.”

Rises to the occasion? I simply wrote a feature, and got it in by the agreed-upon time. A bit faster than usual, but nothing anyone reading this right now couldn’t easily pull off. And this editor had already been as helpful as possible. She’d emailed a list of interviewees and the times they’d be available. I got all the quotes I needed by phone.

As “The Well-Fed Writer” reminds, how would you like a “simple no-cost way to put yourself ahead of about 95% of the pack?”

Be reliable! Because you can count on the fact that a lot of writers out there – at this very moment – are NOT meeting their commitments. People who identify themselves as professionals but who simply don’t come through on the reliability factor.

“There are a lot of flakes out there, Jenny.” My designer friend Jennifer Jacobs, a talented graphic artist, was repeating what a printer had told her. The printer – a bit frustrated with the irresponsible attitude prevalent among too many artists and writers – was grateful that Jenny had done a great job AND was able to keep to an agreed-upon schedule.

Designer, freelance copywriter – it makes no difference. As a tennis great once said, “The real champs don’t miss the easy ones.” Why would you ever have to miss a writing deadline? Writing style, interviewing ability – it’s technique you can develop. Reliability? That’s one area where you can START at the very top!

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