Sunday, August 30, 2015

Deadlines Help Writers

I've always found a deadline helps me get into my chair and get my fingers moving on the keyboard toward the completion of a writing project. In the newspaper business, the deadlines come fast and furious. I would write a story in the morning and it would appear in the afternoon newspaper. Print magazines work on a longer time frame yet also have deadlines to help the writer consistently work on meeting the needs of the publication. Books have a larger number of words and even longer deadlines. It's up to the writer to set the time frame and meet those deadlines.

Writers are notoriously late on meeting their deadlines. As an editor, I've heard almost every excuse from a writer about why they could not meet their book due date. What many authors do not understand is inside the publishing house, the staff is counting on the author to meet that deadline. Dozens of other functions are tied to the arrival of that manuscript.  I used to spend hours in schedule meetings where we talked about our various books and if the authors were on track to meet their deadlines. If an author was going to be late, then we needed to know how late and make adjustments in the other functions (such as the release date for the book, the publicity campaign for the book, the cover design and much more).

I have a number of writing deadlines. Each month for several writer related publications, I send articles. If I don't send my material then the publication does not have what they need.  It's something I plan into my schedule and meet the deadline. Yes I have the rare time when the editor prods me for my material but normally I send it like clockwork.

Do you have deadlines for your writing? If not, can you set one that will help you move forward with your writing project. Many writers set a goal of a daily word count to move forward on a project and complete it on time. Bestselling novelist James Scott Bell talks about the best writing advice that he's ever received—and it's to set a writing word count.

Watch this short video (less than a minute and a half) at:

If you don't use deadlines, then I encourage you to create one for your own writing. If you don't have enough deadlines, then I suggest you approach a magazine about a regular column or article from you. Maybe you write for a publication on an occasional basis and they would be interested in a regular column from you. Or possibly it is a new publication which is just getting started and they need a columnist or a regular contributor. You can use a Writer's Market Guide or the Christian Writer's Market Guide to learn about new publications.

We are surrounded with many opportunities for our writing.  The key is to take action and approach editors with your material or ask if the editor needs your regular contribution.  If you don't ask, you may never have the opportunity. But if you ask and the editor assigns you to write something on a regular basis, then you have a broader opportunity for your writing to get in front of new people.

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2 Comment:

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Miss Mollie's Musings Left a note...

I have different deadlines. I write for a local history paper and the middle of the month is my deadline, except, the editor finds something "better" and I get bumped often.
I tried to set my own deadlines for my novels I self publish. Working full time, being sick, having sick children and life circumstances, I let them come and go. I found I lost sales from readers this summer, because I had nothing new to sell. This fall will be different. I also discovered quickly, I have to set deadlines for the college grad I hired to edit. Otherwise, editing can only be a fun read.
I am learning each day to be more professional with my writing. It hurts me when I am not. I miss on sales. My readers miss out on reading my newest book.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Thank, Mollie, for the comment and feedback. You are right that setting deadlines will help you be more professional. Keep at it. You can do it.



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