Writing is a lonely, albeit fulfilling, profession. In order to slay the solitude, a writer needs to vacate every so often. Summer is the prime time for taking a break as sun-baked beaches and brilliant blue skies draw writers away from dank writing desks. How should you prepare, as a business owner, with the impending summer vacations of your marketing writers, bloggers, copywriters and the like?
Writers, for the most part, do not follow the same 9-to-5 Monday to Friday schedule as most other employed individuals. Instead they keep random hours and typically work six, if not seven, days a week. Some writers need to work 70 hours a week to make ends meet, while other writers feel unfulfilled if they aren’t picking up a pen daily. As a result, finding time for a honest-to-goodness vacation from work is simply not going to happen.
More so, since writers can work from anywhere that has a paper and pen, they will typically squeeze in some work while away from home. Therefore, if a freelance writer working for you states they are going on vacation, it is acceptable to ask if they will be working while on vacation. You’ll be surprised to find that most writers will be penciling in some writing in between shopping excursions and mountain hikes. If so, ask the following questions:
- What are the dates of their vacation, and do these dates include time spent traveling?
- Will they work in the mornings or evenings, so that you can expect work responses or submissions at these times?
- What time zone will they be in for communication purposes?
- Do they anticipate having Internet issues? This is often the situation in third world countries.
- Are they going to take their personal laptop, or will they be working from a tablet or smartphone? If they are taking a tablet or smartphone, these smaller devices often lack programs or ports, such as USB or word processing, which can severely limit their function for hardcore writing projects.
Keeping Up with Down Time
For best practices, a writer with whom you have a long-term project should tell you that they are going on vacation at least a month in advance. This allows both you and the writer to stay ahead of the game. For instance, if you have a newsletter or email marketing schedule, the writer can have that material prepared in advance for sending out to customers while they are away. Keep in mind that even if the writer working for you plans to truly take a vacation with no work on her plate, you may be able to negotiate some communication. Just as with any job, such communication is more common these days thanks to the advent of the Internet. If this is important to your business, express the need for your writer to check in periodically via email or by phone.
Freelance writers who are passionate about their job live a blurred existence. Writing is both their bread-and-butter and a way to express themselves creatively. While taking a long weekend or a month vacation can recharge a writer’s batteries, the ability to work from anywhere often prevents a true vacation. As a result, as a business manager it is up to you to slacken the pace on a writer when you find out they will be on vacation. In the long run, this will boost the writer’s productivity and work in your favor.
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.