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It’s Okay to Say No Thanks to a Freelance Writing Gig

no thanks“No Thanks!” is a perfectly reasonable response when you’re offered a freelance writing job.

It’s so exciting when after madly marketing ourselves and our writing we receive an offer of a freelance writing gig. It’s tempting to say yes even before we’ve heard the details, let alone considered if the job suits us.

Part of running your freelance writing business profitably and with satisfaction is learning when to accept an offer or say “no thanks.”

Why you might want to say “No Thanks!”

There are many reasons why you might want to turn down a freelance writing job.


It might come with red flags, warning you to stay away. For me things like insisting I work in their office or that I be constantly available by instant messenger are enough to make me turn down a gig. I won’t take on a big project without a substantial advance or down payment either.

Listen to your gut

We’ve all get gut feelings when we’re considering a particular writing job.  Usually those intuitions or senses or that still small voice are accurate. If you develop the notion that ‘it’s too good to be true’ or ‘I don’t feel I can trust this person’ or ‘i’m going to get to far over my head on this one,’ or anything like that, that’s a clear signal to say ‘no thanks.’

On the other hand that spidy sense may give a a signal to go right ahead even though you’ve got intellectual doubts. It’s also fine when the signals are right to say ‘yes indeed.’

“I just don’t want to do this!”

Sometimes we run into freelance work that we just don’t want to do. You know, that’s totally okay too. You’re running your own business. If you’re offered work you don’t like or don’t know how to do well, or know how to do but hate, there’s absolutely no reason at all why you can’t say “no thanks!”

You don’t need a reason or to explain yourself. Just say ‘no thanks’ and move on. Or depending on the situation, you might choose to say something like, “you know I hate that, but I love doing this… do you need that or know someone who does?” You may be pleasantly surprised at their response, or not. Either way you’ll win by being true to yourself.

Write well, often, and be good to yourself,

Anne Wayman freelance writer



{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Good that I came across this page. I am not a writer but can related either way. Saying no to a freelance job (especially when you’ve tried really hard to make yourself known) can be difficult and even feel wrong. I had to learn it the hard way as well by falling into several traps. Those could be financial (late pay or even no pay) or sudden added detail that wasn’t in the initial agreement and with that threads of no-payment etc. Certainly not fun adding a lot of stress to the work. Thanks for sharing your opinion. Appreciate it. Will come back here for more 🙂

    • Thanks Groove… yes, come back. Much of what’s said here applies to all freelancers, no matter what they offer.

  • I have said no to some potentially lucrative jobs over the years. Words/phrases that spark red flags for me include: “Can I pay afterwards when I see your quality?” (No!!)
    Can yu doo diskount cuz I have lots more work for yu? (yes, people do spell that way)
    “I do my own witting but don’t hav time now.” (Self-explanatory.)
    “You must be on Skype all the time when you work so I can check how you’re going.” I’m NOT interested in Big Brother and I don’t have time to always be stopping for chats. I quote based on jobs, not on an hourly rate.

    Then you get the people who want to keep pushing your price down with no valid reason.

    In fact I have a (potential) client who thought a “genuine” article and one that hasn’t been proofread and had spelling and grammar checked were different types of work and the one that hadn’t been checked was cheaper). I simply said I only do genuine articles and I refuse to give a client errors UNLESS they have a specific reason.

    These are just a few red flags I have experienced. I know there are lots more and everybody is different…and I look forward to seeing other people’s messages.

    • Laurence, once again, we’re on the same page… nice additions to my list.

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