One of the pressures of being on “assignment” is getting the job done on time. It requires a little foresight and maybe planning. If one is very busy it takes astute time management around other activities, work and social life. If one has the time, being on assignment should be a breeze, but then again who has that kind of time these days? For most, writing on assignment requires time management to get the job done.
One thing the publisher does is penalize writers if they don’t hand the work in on time. It may be a loss of some of the fee or you forfeit the whole fee if the work is too late. The publisher has assigned the work and needs it, so brings some sort of “incentive” to get it done, like losing some of your fee which is a good way for them to see the work on time.
For busy writers sacrificing one assignment for a better one may be the way if one can’t fit it in. One just doesn’t hand in the assignment and suffers the penalty. It may mean the writer loses with one publisher and gets no more work, but hopes to make up for it with a better one, or thinks it’s a better one.
There can be plusses and minuses of this. The plus is that the publisher you send the actual assignment to pays better than the other publisher you rejected. You can spend more time on the assignment and do a great job of it and then maybe get more work with the same publisher.
The negatives is that the other publisher you’ve let go may be a good one. They may have provided more assignments and quite a steady stream of jobs.
Is it better to sacrifice one assignment, but go with the other assignment which pays better? Or does one do the lesser paying job which may provide more work in the future?
But the bottom line is always this: how much stress, in one’s present reality, is one or the other or one over the other? When everything in one’s life is considered, which assignment is going to be the more realistic option, and be honest about it.
And only do both, or whatever number, if one can do them all on time. It’s always a better look and shows one is reliable. Otherwise, don’t take on the assignment if you can’t. One should always take on assignments one intends to do on time.