February 20, 2013

Deadlines

When you commit to a deadline as a writer, stick to it. Forget about the notion of writers waiting for the magical muse, forget about writer’s block, and forget about people being patient with you because you’re creating art. Every time you miss a deadline, you’re being unfair to someone. It might just be you, or it might be a team of editors, designers, marketers, and so on.

“But I’m the star, they’ll have to wait!”

No, they don’t have to wait. You’re not indispensable, and besides, do you feel the same when the mechanic isn’t finishing work on your car on time, or you have to wait a whole day for a plumber who doesn’t show?

Or as I like to put it: Editors are people too.

But what if you’re missing a deadline? It happens, some things are hard to predict and there are times when you just can’t make up for lost time. Inform your editor, explain the situation, and hope that they’ll be understanding. If you’re usually easy to work with, if you’re professional about your craft, then they’ll understand.

If you’re an asshole that always puts your editors in a jam, well, then they won’t be as understanding.

Deadlines. Have you ever thought about the origin of the word? The term “deadline” hail from World War II prison camps, where crossing a deadline meant to be shot.

Think about that the next time your work is beginning to slide. Also think about everyone else involved, even if it is only you. They deserve better, they deserve to be able to count on you to do your part, just as you demand the same of them.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.