A funny thing happened to me this week.  I was turned down for a writing job before we were even able to quote for it.

Why?   Because I asked too many questions.

Yep, seriously.  I asked too many questions.

Sometimes I wonder how a person like that gets through life.

“Oh can you build me a house please?  No, don’t bother me with the details.  Just go away and do it.”

Can you imagine what happens next?

“That isn’t what I wanted.  I wanted it painted purple and my kitchen put on rollers.”

Why would it be different for any other piece of work you want done?

If you want me to write for you then I am going to ask questions. I want to know exactly what you want from me.  I want to have a clear picture of your requirements.  What is the piece for?  Who will be reading it?  What do you want to achieve with it?  How long should it be?  How much detail would you like included?  Will you supply any content or notes to work from?  Is there a ‘voice’ you’d like me to use?

[pullquote_left]What you see and what your writer sees might be very different things.[/pullquote_left]The more detailed your brief, the better results you will get.  That seems logical to me.

No, this person didn’t want to go through all that.

I gave her the option of filling out a writer’s brief or, as she was so very busy, chatting to me over the phone.  She didn’t have time to do either.  What she wanted to do was to give me a topic and let me go away and take care of it for her.

Of course I can do that and I have done that in the past but only with clients or businesses that I know and understand.  If I don’t know anything about you or your business, I might capture what you are after or I might not.  It’s a bit like typing in the dark.  You don’t know if you’ve got it right until you see it in the light.

If you are going to hire a writer (or any other form of service) you need to explain what results you want.  What you see and what your writer sees might be very different things.

Let me see your vision.

And if it takes a few questions to help bring the vision out of you and into a place where I can see it, then that’s just the way it is.

The good news is that the questions don’t really take long to answer and, once you’ve done it, your time is freed up and you know you’re going to get the results you want.  It’s worth taking a few minutes at the start of the project to save a lot of time afterwards, isn’t it?


Anne Maybus