This Ain’t Your Typical Preschool: Four Tips for Working With Temperamental Writers
Freelance writers and preschoolers have an amazing amount in common. For one thing, most still want to show up in their pajamas. They’re all drawn to electronics they can’t afford. And occasionally, they all have their meltdown moments.
The best freelance writing sites tend to employ the best writers, but if your writer recently stomped from the room and slammed the door behind him, it might be time to re-examine your teaching methods.
Don’t Withhold Privileges
Unless your writer is very new to the game, he has a firm knowledge of how best to do his job. Telling him he can’t play with the sand table or that he has to share with the writer in the next seat sometimes doesn’t go over well. And if you really want to incite a tantrum, just cut your writer off 100-words shy of what he needs to create that amazing, once-in-a-lifetime literary work.
Just like preschoolers, writers yearn for consistency. Don’t dole out assignments indiscriminately and then yank them back before play time is over. If you initially gave your writer 24 hours to claim an assignment, be true to your word. Taking a toy from your writer’s hand and placing it back on the shelf for someone else to claim is a surefire way to heat up the time-out chair.
Have Realistic Expectations
It’s not unusual for a room full of preschoolers to show up on the first day exhibiting various levels of preparation. Some will know their ABCs and be able to count to 20 –others will not. Still others will be able to sit quietly and learn for long periods of time while a few won’t be able to stop moving. Writers are much the same — they exist at various levels of skill, knowledge, and experience. All writers for hire should be able to give you perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation, but if you want that writer who’s able to bring a little added oomph to your project, expect to pay more to land him.
Use Positive Reinforcement
A good teacher reinforces the use of the words “please” and “thank you.” She teaches a preschooler how to be kind to his peers. She gives praise where it’s warranted and rewards those students who show exceptional progress. Just because your writer is a grown-up doesn’t mean he never needs a little positive reinforcement from time to time. Respect your writer. Let him know when you’re well-pleased. And never be reticent to thank him when he exceeds your expectations.
Your first experience working with a writer can be as foreign as the first day of school, but if you’re clear about your expectations early on and play fair, recess will be here before you know it.
Anne G has a tendency to read too many real-life adventure stories, and occasionally, they seep through into her writing. From sharks to summits, mountain peaks to the moon–her trusty armchair is there, traveling at the speed of light and beyond. One day, with her aging beagle in tow, she plans to take that next giant leap for mankind–but tentatively, and only if the weather is perfect.