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October 8, 2012 (Updated: January 26, 2023)
There’s a major project due in less than 24 hours. You have already made sure your team has all the guidelines they need, so as far as you know, everything is going great. Once you arrive to work and get settled in, you go down your check list to make sure everything is completed or being finalized. Then you learn that one of your writers has flaked on you and did not turn in their work. Rather than panic, take a deep breath and approach this disaster situation calmly.
At this point you know that this project must be executed NOW. The worst thing you can do is panic. This will only make you flustered and cause you to lose focus; it could even lead to double work. Keep your cool and don’t worry about anything else aside from getting this project together and completed. Forget about the writer, you will have time to handle them later.
One thing that has helped me out tremendously is always having a backup plan. Always send out an email before assigning work to the team, letting them know what is expected of the project and ask how much work they can handle. That way you’ll know who has the capacity to take up extra work and possibly turn it around in time to meet the deadline.
When planning out your project initially, you should have given yourself an extra day—I live by this. This helps out a lot because just like in this situation, you might have some writers flake on you and leave you hanging. In the end, the client does not care about what happened, they just expect their order to be delivered when they were told it would be delivered.
I always have a list of back up writers just in case someone falls through at the last minute. By having a list of back up writers, you will be better able to quickly formulate a plan and begin contacting potential writers; this could be the time-saver that rescues the project.
Once you’ve gotten your plan together and new writers have stepped up to help, get to it and assign them the dropped work. Having your back up list will also help you avoid wasted time spent on the back and forth emails necessary to find new (and available) writers.
If and when you have a writer leave you in the dust, the best thing to do is immediately eliminate them from your team. The last thing you need to deal with is an unreliable person. There are a lot of writers out there willing to work, so why should you waste time on someone undependable?
Keep it professional, despite your annoyance; send the writer a polite email stating that you will no longer be needing their writing services on the team. While it may seem harsh, having a no-tolerance policy when it comes to deadlines will make it clear to your writers that aside from good quality writing, timeliness is an expectation and not a suggestion. This will also maintain consistency within your deliveries to the client and earn their trust in your services.
So when worse comes to worse, never panic. Always have a backup plan that you know will help you out, and tackle any problem at hand with poise and ease.