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Buyers who won't take advice

Hello everyone :slight_smile:

This is my first time creating a topic in this forum. I’m usually just a forum lurker, but I had a situation today that bothered me a little bit, and I thought I’d ask if any of the other Fiverr writers have encountered this.

So, my gig is for writing memoirs, but what I end up doing, quite often, is Re-writing. Clients have tried to write their memoir, found it challenging, and then they send what they have over to me. I usually just do the rewrite and people are happy with it. I don’t offer beta reading or critique services, so I’m not usually in a back and forth, telling buyers why I made the changes that I did.

A few days ago I got a memoir order, and this guy’s story is SO inspiring! Obviously I can’t get into details, but I can see why this guy has people telling him to write a memoir. His story is amazing.

He sent me what he had and asked me to do a rewrite. I did what I always do. I fixed any confusing sentence structures, took out unnecessary information, and eliminated cliches.
Cliches are such a big problem in writing. They’re like the weeds of writing. I took several courses during my undergrad specifically focused on cliches. I’ll readily admit, they crop up in my own writing sometimes. It happens to everybody.

After sending this buyer his rewritten work, he wanted to know why I deleted one sentence. It had the phrase “bend or break” in it. That’s a figure of speech that is not original to him, therefore, it’s a cliche.

I explained that to him. Of course, I tried to be gentle. I know that people can be sensitive about their writing.

He still became upset, demanding to know how his words could be unoriginal when they were his actual thoughts.

I thought about explaining that many people think in terms of cliches, because they are exposed to them so often. Words and language are nothing but shorthand for thoughts and feelings. We often choose cliches because they are easily decoded by the listener. I think they’re fine in spoken English, but not written.

However, I didn’t explain all that. I just agreed to add the phrase back into the writing, and then I delivered his revision. I mean, he already seemed really irritated, and it is his story.

The whole thing left me kind of miffed. Why did he ask for my input if he didn’t want it?

Is this something that other writers encounter? How do you all deal with it?

I write for others to, often rewriting like your good self, and I find that there are certain phrases or words that are ‘untouchable’ in a rewrite. You can advise, but if they don’t want to change then walk away.

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Yeah, that’s what I did. I suppose that’s all that we can do. I just didn’t understand why he became so irritated at me. I could understand if he was just like “Well, I think I like it as is. Can you please put it back in?” but he became a bit hostile. It almost seemed like he was expecting me to argue with him.

Anyway, thank you for your input :slight_smile:

There is a good reason why cliches are cliches - like you said, they are easily understood, they are often an easy way to get the message across without confusing the readers or over-complicating things. In that sense, cliches sometimes simply work. If in his mind that sentence is perfect for telling the story, you can’t do much. You did your part, gave your advice, and whether he’ll take it or not is up to him.

So to answer your question, in my opinion, he wanted input. But he also wanted to keep that sentence. When you ask for advice, do you always take it? Sometimes I don’t even consider the advice I get if it’s too far away from what I’m aiming at, sometimes I consider it and then forget about it forever. Sometimes the advice I get only makes me more sure of my original decision.

There’s no point getting frustrated about it. Some people simply like to pick fights. I’ve had to keep bad parts of a story or take out great parts because the client wanted that. I’d explain, give advice, and let them decide. It’s their story, I have no intention of arguing with them because I can’t win. I know that if it were mine, I’d ask for advice, consider it, even take it, but my opinion would ultimately be the only thing that matters.

You truly love your work and just because someone doesn’t appreciate an edit you made, you sill did your job correctly and you should be proud of that.

In my line of work, sometimes a client would like certain colors that just don’t make any sense. If they requested those colors, I would kindly explain why I don’t encourage those colors but after all, if they aren’t satisfied with their completed project, I’m not. (in which case I would give in and use their preferred colors.)

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You’re right. I can’t take it personally. All we can do is explain ourselves and then let it go if they don’t agree.

I didn’t even think about that happening outside of the writing field, but that makes sense that it would happen in website design or any other creative type of project with subjectivity involved.

His tone irked me a bit, but I was thinking it over and he probably felt that I was criticizing him. I shouldn’t have used the word “cliche” because it has such a negative connotation. I’m so used to using it in a matter-of-fact way in my writing courses. It took me a day of thinking it over to realize that’s probably why his reply to me was so hostile.

Anyway, thanks for your input! :slight_smile:

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