How to Handle Criticism as a Freelance Content Writer

Handling criticism isn’t easy, especially for a new freelance content writer. After all, you finally put your entire self-esteem on the line and try to become a professional freelance content writer, and then someone comes along the line to tell you that you are making grammatical mistakes?

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The first step – Take criticism as feedback

You have to recognize that while you may be the freelance content writer in this scenario, the client is the one paying for it. If they don’t like a certain point or style of writing, they have the right to mention that. After all, even you wouldn’t want to get paid for something that the client isn’t satisfied with. That also means that the client wouldn’t contact you in the future for any other content requirements.

Don’t take criticism negatively, take it as feedback and see how you can improve the content according to it.

The second step – Discuss changes in advance

If the clients has criticized the work rather vaguely, it should be your duty as a freelance writer to get as many specific details as possible to ensure that the second draft is just perfect.

So, if a client emails you and says, ‘The content is boring, we need to make it upbeat,’ make sure you ask them what part is boring and how exactly they want it to be upbeat. If possible, ask them to send you some references to help you out.

Before making any changes, send the client a checklist of all the changes you are going to be making. This will ensure that the client cannot ask for any extra changes later on.

The third step – Differentiate criticism from insult

I am not going to lie, you will come across a few clients who are plain rude. They won’t appreciate the time you put in, they won’t reply you on time, they won’t clear payments on time, and they will still blame it all on you.

When you start working with someone, it’s very easy to recognize if they are impatient and downright rude. No matter how much the client is willing to pay a writer, if they are unprofessional, you shouldn’t be wasting any time on them.

Back when I was new to freelance writing, I had two of the most horrendous and rudest clients that I ever worked with. I should have never agreed to work with them, but I still did, and that taught me a very important lesson.

So, here is an email I received from one of those rude clients. I had sent the work 10 days before, and followed up with at least 3-4 emails. In the last email, I finally said that if they cannot find time to respond, I won’t be able to put their project on priority, and this is the email I received.

Goes without saying that I refused to work with the client after that. In fact, I sold the content I did for them to a different client (totally worth it)

The fourth step – Accept that some project requirements may not align with you

Every client has a different requirement, and their requirement may not completely align with your writing style. There is nothing you can do about that, you can just accept the reality and move forward.

It isn’t that you are a bad writer, you may be a great writer, but the client may be looking for something completely different, and that’s okay. So, if a client says that your content is good but not up to their expectations, just tell yourself that it’s okay, and move forward.

The fifth step – Repeated criticism may require sometime to reflect

If you keep getting the same type criticism from different clients, then it may be time for you to reflect on your own writing and see how you can improve on that. The most important point is to always open yourself to learning new things.

I have had the experience of working with some of the best editors and they have all taught me something new and made my writing better. I will never accept that my writing is perfect because I know that’s not the truth. There is always room for improvement.

As a freelance content writer, how do you handle criticism?


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