Monday, April 21, 2014

A Tale of Two Assignments on Deadline

From Kate's Writer's Crate…

The reality of writing and editing professionally means never missing a deadline. Never—unless you are unconscious or dead or a there is a family emergency. Since I am neither, happily, and there is no emergency, I find myself having to write a post and an essay on the same day.

Usually, I write my posts a few days to a few weeks in advance. However, this has been a busy month: A delightful five-day visit with my favorite person; a beyond-my-control magazine deadline that also included eight extra pages to fill and edit at the last minute; reading a book for an author event on top of my regular reading for this blog and just for fun, a scarcity of ideas for my post as it is not a book review week, and regular life activities.

Luckily, I write pretty well under pressure. The tricky part is catching the extra errors I make while rushing to finish.

        To meet both deadlines, I will write the post until I run out of thoughts. Then I will switch to the essay. I will go back and forth until I am done taking only necessary breaks. This is my punishment for procrastinating even with good, fun, and work-related reasons.

        Writers must take their books, articles, and projects seriously. Make time for them. Meet the deadlines even if it means working long days or losing sleep.

        Editors count on writers meeting deadlines. Remember every writer's piece has to be edited for errors, sometimes for length, and sometimes for content which takes time to complete before placement in a magazine layout or book folio, and then the proofing begins.

        If writers are late, it's the editors who feel the time crunch. Advertisers are guaranteed a published date online or in print. Printers have tight schedules not easily rearranged. Editors cannot be late so they lose sleep, breaks and lunch hours…whatever it takes. That's why they appreciate reliable writers who meet deadlines or acknowledge any delays as far in advance as possible.

        Magazine editors can rearrange the order they edit pieces so an extra day or two could be squeezed out for writers who need more time, but editors will be less likely to rely on those writers in future issues unless they already have strong relationships or they are famous.

Dependable writers get more assignments which is why I am completing both my assignments on time. True, my post is for fun, but a deadline is a deadline. It is just that simple.

WRITER'S NOTE: My post last week was completed three days early. However, I scheduled it for the wrong Monday as I was in a hurry to finish preparing for my guest so it was published hours late. Rushing leads to errors!

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