Your Writing Sucks!

Your Writing SucksI just got a message from one of my long term clients (he owns an SEO company and sends me a lot of work).  It was about an article I recently sent him for a new client (an attorney’s office).  It was already rewritten once, and the attorney apparently came back again saying that he HATED my writing.  Yikes.  I very rarely get clients who are unhappy with my work, so at first I was a little surprised.  I had to quickly take a step back, however, and realize that this wasn’t something to be taken personally.

It is impossible to please everyone when you write.  What one person may love, others will hate.  Just look at books like the Harry Potter series.  I’ve read many people who say that the series is poorly written garbage, yet it sold millions of copies.  Even the most famous writers in history have some people who hate their work.  Who am I to think that my particular style of writing would appeal to every single client?

Granted, I was a little upset because had the client liked the work, I would have gotten an order for at last another ten articles (and likely many more over the next few months).  That means I won’t be making as much money, but I’m sure I’ll get other orders from other clients.

The bottom line here, for me, was that I needed to remember that no matter how much time and effort you put into your writing, not everyone will like it.  If you freelance long enough, eventually you will get customers who tell you that your writing sucks.  Just try to take it in stride, apologize that your particular style wasn’t a good fit, and move on.  NEVER let it affect your confidence!

Have you ever had customers come back with very negative things to say about the work you delivered?  If so, share your story below in the comments.

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  1. Sanjay Sett says

    One of the best piece of advice I have read recently. Any writer facing a mental block, because his/her writing was rejected, should read this post.

    Cheers & Sunshine,


    • Sally Hall says

      Sometimes this is about “house style”and those of is who write for lots of different publications learn to flit, chameleon-like, from one style to another. This can be difficult if you have your own very personal and identifiable style and if so, you are best writing for your own website or journal. However, take heart; almost everyone thinks they “can be a writer.” I have spent much of the last two weeks tearing my hair out trying to edit text written by clients for advertorials. They write 1000s of words for a quarter page ad. And it’s usually so badly written. So at least we can put it into proper English. Mostly.

  2. says

    It’s no fun to hear when someone dislikes your writing. I had a client dislike my writing he kept asking for rewrites. When I finally said no after the fourth rewrite, he said he wouldn’t hired me again. I shrugged and said, “All right.” It was obvious he didn’t like the writing, or was doing his best to get more than one version of the same copy.

    In any case, while it shouldn’t affect a person, it does somewhat tend to hit their pride pretty good. I got over it eventually and landed other clients. But, you’re right, you can’t just let it sink you down. Great post!

  3. says

    Getting negative feedback for your writing services is difficult to handle. It is upsetting & almost hurtful. Michael, you’ve made a fantastic point; you cannot please everyone with your writing. The best thing you can do is give each write-up your 100%. Do what you do sincerely and you’ll have a clear conscience.

    In the past, we have had a few clients who have asked for several rounds of rewriting and then replied back saying, “Let it be, I’ll have to do this myself!”

    Onwards & upwards, that’s the way to go!

  4. says

    Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” and I think that pretty much sums it up!

    Think of any artist – singer, actor, writer, artist – is there any 1 artist that EVERYONE likes? I doubt it. We all have our own taste, and so it is with writing, or whatever profession we may be in – there is personalities to take into account – so all we can do is out best, and not take “rejection” personally.
    Tamsin recently posted…Success Summary 27 October 2013My Profile

  5. Kate Kunkel says

    It is so true that you can’t please everyone all the time. I actually believe that it’s counter-productive to even attempt it. By doing that, you become homogenous and end up diluting that which makes you the writer that you are. The most important thing is to just keep doing the best you can.

  6. says

    It used to bother me in the beginning when someone didn’t care for my style of writing, even if I took the time to write it with their personality in mind. Still, you’ll get clients who aren’t happy with the content you provide – so be it.

    Take that article and sell it to someone else who will appreciate it for the good prose it is!
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…How to Make Your First $5 with an Unfinished ProductMy Profile

  7. says

    The worst is when you come across a delicious play on words or a novel concept and get excited about it. Then the client says they generally like the piece but have made some minor amendments. You look and they have run roughshod over all your carefully considered structuring. I stay sane by reminding myself that they’re paying for the conceptualising time and it is after all their product/service not mine.

  8. says

    I had one client accuse me of using an article spinner. He claimed the article was not unique and basically garbage which was funny because I checked it with several different online plagiarism checkers and it scored 100% on all of them.

    There will always be clients who will give you a hard time. Just do what you can, and forget about it. It is not worth trying to deal with a crappy client.

    Great article.
    Timothy Torrents recently posted…Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why a Website Will Explode A Freelancer’s BusinessMy Profile

  9. carpedog says

    Your writing may be good but your editing could use some work. Double spaces between sentences, spelling 10 instead of numerals . . .

    • says

      Yeah. I’ve said it before on this site. I don’t really edit my work that I post here. I just write it up and publish it. I’m not trying to impress anyone with everything being perfect. This may be a mistake on my part, but this site is more an outlet for my thoughts and experience than a place where I’m making money (though I do try to make some money here).

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting though!


      • carpedog says

        believe it or not, I’m not trying to be a troll but a good writer writes well naturally, without thinking about the rules. After a certain amount of experience it’s habit to write one to nine and use numerals for 10 and above (for instance). And double spaces haven’t been used since typewriters and the first computers that used only monospaced type so that tells one about your possible background (academics are terrible for that.)

        it’s an “outlet for your . . . experience” you said. You never know who is reading your post and if they might have a client to send your way.

        to end on a positive note, your advice not to take harsh criticism to heart is right on.

        • says

          No worries. I appreciate the feedback. I know the double spacing thing has fallen out of standard (some time ago) but it is a difficult habit to break for me. For clients that care, I always do a “Find & Replace” to remove double spaces in the documents. I’ll blame my 7th grade typing teacher who drilled it into us that we needed double spaces after a period. lol.

          I know I should take the time to perfect every post and comment I make, and I agree that it could cost me a client or two at some point. Fortunately, however, I’m in a pretty good position where I have a number of great clients who keep me busy. I like getting new ones, but I’m not overly worried about it at this point. Any client who can’t see that these posts are in a ‘casual’ style is going to be a pain in the butt to work for anyway (IMHO).

          Anyway, thanks again for the comments (and the compliments).


    • says

      Yeah. It makes writing difficult sometimes. I’ve had times where I submitted an article that I was really happy with, and the client didn’t like it. Other times, I submit something that I feel just gets the job done, but isn’t GREAT, and the clients rave about it. Most of the time the clients are happy though, so that means I’m happy too!


  10. says

    I once received a comment from my client stating: “This is Shakespearean English…I do not want all this flowery language and poetry. Give me some solid technical material.” I was both taken aback and yet surrpised as my writing was compared to Shakespeare’s…whom I am sure the client has never read 😛
    That was my second year in the writing field.
    Today, even after 6+ years of experience, I still hear some comments stating…”Hmm…this is ok but not standing out. We want content that attracts attention. Can you please write more crisply..and stuff like that. So, yes! it does affect my pride for awhile and stays somewhere in my subconscious, but I soon share it with my friends and laugh over it. I read more on what is specific to the requirement and in this process, I learnt a very important thing: Quality is only that, which is loved by the client…which suits their requirements. Now, that is Quaility, aint it? Thanks for this post, Michael! 🙂 I now know I am not the only one to suffer such blows and for sure, not a bad writer 🙂 I like to think high of my writing skills, especially after reading your post.
    Vyoma recently posted…I Remember a Story TellerMy Profile

  11. says

    I can’t get enough writing gigs to find out if my writing sucks or not. Should I take this as a sign that it sucks and move on to finding a second job? Or do you have any suggestions/leads about how to improve my writing, besides taking a creative writing course in college?
    Lindsey recently posted…Parenting Autistically – Part 1My Profile

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Finding people to write for is one of the most difficult parts of freelancing for most people. It is hard to say how good of a writer you are from your comment alone (and I can’t visit your site right now). It is important to take a good, honest look at your own skills though. Asking people for a critique can also be a great way to get some insight.


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