Deadlines are a critical necessity of life as a writer. I take great pride in never having missed one – with certain painfully obvious exceptions.
It’s plainly posted on the right side of this screen that I am scheduled to post on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month. Whether I’ve done that or not this month is open to discussion. Please allow me to explain.
This post will go up with a date stamp that suggests it went up on a Saturday, January 20th. This is true in every sense. Although, being a slightly off-beat sort of fellow, my clock doesn’t run quite in synch with the one you more than likely use. My day starts in the early afternoon. Like most people, I refer to this beginning portion of my day as, “morning.”
Just today as I was mailing off a series of packages at my local post office, I greeted the familiar staff behind the window with a cheery, “Good morning!” I did this without thinking. The fact that it was well after 1:00PM hardly entered into my mind. I had been awake for less than an hour and was in fact finishing my work from the night before.
My days start late, consequently they run quite late too. I generally finish my writing and wander off to bed around 5:00AM. I like this schedule. It works for me.
Of course it’s absolutely fair to say that I’m out of step with the majority of my neighbors.
All of which leads me to raise the question; Is it a bad thing to be off kilter? In my case, I don’t think so. While I generally write my newspaper column in the wee hours of the morning, and often send them off to my editor at odd hours, I make my deadline without fail. No harm done. The kids are quiet, the dogs are asleep and the phone hardly ever rings in the middle of the night. For me, it’s the most productive time of day to work.
In this case, on this blog, I will be the first to admit that I’ve missed my deadline this week. And I’ll blame that on a new schedule for a new blog, of which this is my first official post. With that in mind, I will adjust my schedule to accommodate my deadlines and post early in the morning on Fridays – a time most people would still refer to as Thursday night. Because as any writer who has raced to meet a deadline is aware, it’s far better to be a day early than a day late.
The moral of this story is an important one for anyone who is, or hopes to be, a writer. The deadline is the deadline. If you miss it, you’re dead – hence the name. It is our responsibility to reshape our schedules, our lives in fact, if we must in order to meet our deadlines. No editor will be inclined to extend a second assignment to a writer who has missed the last one. Only an idiot of an editor would be likely to assign a story to a writer who had missed their deadline more than once in recent memory.
So write, re-write and at least consider the possibility of going through that process at least one more time. But keep your eye on the calendar and the clock while you do. Your deadline is looming – and I just missed one for the first time, by an hour and a quarter. Shame on me!
Author – Burritos and Gasoline