Business Writing Priorities and Promises

The other day I was talking with the managing editor of a popular subscription website that is rich in content. The editor introduced me to the site and wanted to know whether I would like to write regularly for it.

I responded something like this: "I'd like some time to think about it. I need to decide how writing for you fits into my priorities."

Her response surprised me: "I'm so glad to hear that. So often people commit right away. Then a month later they realize they can't do it."

Do you think before you commit to writing on a deadline? Or to a particular deadline?

Just today I caught myself telling a new client that I would send her a letter of agreement on Friday. Before I clicked Send, I realized that the client would not care when she received the letter of agreement. I changed "on Friday" to "in a few days," which fits better with my schedule yet keeps us moving forward.

I recall an email exchange that I began with these words: "As promised, here is the . . . ." My colleague replied, "Thanks so much for your email and for doing what you said you'd do when you said you'd do it. How refreshing!"

Be refreshing. Think before you commit–especially when no one has asked for your work by a particular date.

Please share your insights on priorities and promises.

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