Failure and Freelancing

Failure and Freelancing — Write RightSometimes, despite my best efforts, my work fails to satisfy a client. A few of those clients encourage and critique. Others rail and compare a current project to past ones. I become silent and endure both because—what can I say?

If I try to speak in that moment, I will give either excuses or anger. Neither help; they would only make a difficult situation worse. Besides, I need to listen before I speak. Something the client says may be true. Then again, it may not.

I cannot tell the difference, though, when first hearing or reading the client’s words. I know this about myself because, no matter how hard I try to separate myself from my work, the work still stands as a part of me. My ego is involved, and it is wounded, cornered, defensive. To speak or write in reply immediately would be to invite ruin upon my head.

Because of that, I practice an art drilled into me during weekly creative writing workshops: I remain silent while criticism is given. I allow myself nothing. No words, no email replies, nothing will pass my lips or hands. My face might say something, but I’m usually on the other side of a screen. I can hide.

I choose silence, too, because it gives me a chance to assess where I failed, if I did. In some cases, the failure rests entirely upon me; I own up to the mistake. Other times, though, the critique given resides in a misperception. Some clients know my work from my days working at Tenacity5 Media. What they don’t know is the number of revisions and edits that went into a work before it was delivered to them.

Do I need to disclose that information? Probably not. At best, it would make for a messy conversation. At worst, it would sound like a justification or defense. I refuse both options. I stay quiet, accept the failure as best I can, take responsibility for my actions, and move forward.

Image: Emertz76 (Creative Commons)