Media Bistro has a bunch of tips for free-lance writers on avoiding collisions with their editors. Among the suggestions:
Most editors are in a position to offer a bit of wiggle room on a deadline as long as you give them one to two weeks’ warning. Whatever you do, don’t surprise them on the actual due date with a note saying the piece isn’t ready.
Funny how many newspaper reporters think they’re writing for magazines…
If during the reporting process you find that some of the information just doesn’t exist or you can’t track it down, contact your editor and brainstorm a solution.
Oh, and if your high concept for a story isn’t backed up by the actual reportage, here’s a suggestion: don’t write the story anyway in the hope that the desk will “come up with something.”
Don’t hand in crummy copy.
Don’t think about us, think about how your swell clips will allow you to leave us losers behind.
Don’t get cranky when an editor asks for additions to your original manuscript or a revision with a different spin.
Exceptions allowed for phone calls during “Survivor: Lunar Surface.”
Approach the process as a collaboration between you and your editor.
Fetching your editor some Thai takeout is not a master-slave relationship; it’s collaboration.
The night your story is shipping is not the time for a spur-of-the-moment trip to a secluded cabin out of cell-phone range.
We need to know where you are at all times; exceptions may be granted for childbirth.