Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dreaded Deadline

There is nothing that can get you worked up more as a writer than the dreaded deadline for turning in a book. Though most editors are flexible and understanding if you are a few days or even a couple of weeks late, many expect you to be right on the money with your book and few excuses will do.

I usually approach the deadline the way I would a date for going on a trip to Hawaii, which I often do and have mapped out well in advance. I make sure I take it seriously enough to have my things in order as the day nears. This means I step up my writing, revising, reading, and more revising as the clock ticks, pushing aside things I might have done otherwise, and essentially stick to the script with few distractions till I have completed the project to my satisfaction.

As such, when the date of delivery arrives, I am able to breathe a deep sigh of relief and push send as the manuscript whisks across the high speed Internet in the blink of an eye. My editor then tells me simply, "Thanks," as if the process was smooth as silk.

I then pat myself on the back for yet another job well done and then maybe have some champagne to celebrate, take a few days to regain my bearings, and then it is back in the saddle again for another looming deadline and the normal process of going through the motions to make sure it happens. My editor then is happy, I am happy, and hopefully the readers will be happy too once the finished product is in print and on sale.

How do you approach the dreaded deadline? Are you usually on time? Or often late?

Is your editor understanding? Or can being late put you in the doghouse?


Charles Gramlich said...

I am not good at handling deadlines emotionally, which means I usually get my projects done way ahead of time so I won't be so stressed. When I can't, I get very anxious.

Farrah Rochon said...

I have never had an issue with making deadlines as of yet. Probably because when I do have a deadline, everything else in my worlds stops and I focus entirely on the book. I've written on Christmas, New Year's, the day of my grandfather's funeral (he was a hard worker, too, so he would have understood. BTW, I did go to the funeral).

Devon Vaughn Archer said...

At times the dreaded deadline seems to creep up on you like a thief in the night, when you thought there was stil eons of time left. That's when real panic sets in and you have to push the pedal to the metal and really step on it to get project there in time, or as close to deadline as possible. Then you get your gold star from editor and can begin process all over in trying to stay ahead of game for next novel or book. :>))

Jewel Amethyst said...

I recall having to extend deadlines on a few rare occasions. Most times, though, I give myself a personal deadline at least a week before the actual deadline. That helps me make my deadline, though the anxiety still remains.