Editor asks: How to handle deadline-delinquent writer

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Dear Dr. Freelance: I’m a magazine editor at my wit’s end with a chronically deadline-delinquent writer. Not just a day, but a couple of days of excuses and delays. This freelancer nails every assignment and requires little editing, and I like her personally, so I’ve cut her slack. But I’m running out of patience. I’ve tried padding her deadlines, which she figured out. I’ve tried asking for daily updates, which has had no measurable effect. What can I do to motivate her?—Too Late Baby

TLB: I assume you’re providing her plenty of lead time and that she’s squandering it. If that’s the case, an editor-friend of mine has a system that will help you get the point across. Basically, her freelance stable divides into A, B and C categories, with the A Team receiving the most and best assignments. If nobody in A is available, a story trickles down to the best writer in B, and so on. [Read more…]

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