Home > Journalism > Writing Within a Deadline

Writing Within a Deadline

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 1 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Deadline; Deadlines; Editor; Editors;

"I work best under pressure."

It's a common comment heard around the world from the mouths of writers who slip their works in just before a deadline has passed. While those authors might be comfortable with their decisions to finish jobs just in time, their editors are often not so pleased. After all, if a writer turns in a piece even a little late and it needs to be rewritten or greatly edited, there could be major problems getting it into publication.

When you have a deadline to meet, it's better to allot yourself plenty of time to work on your article, story, or chapter. By waiting until the last minute to put everything together, you're simply gambling with your writing because you cannot plan for emergencies that might come up. You're also jeopardizing your reputation as a professional, prompt, reliable journalist or novelist.

Below are a few simple ideas to help you complete your works within a given deadline without compromising your integrity or your relationship with editors.

Write Right Now

Your 1,500-word feature article deadline is two weeks away? That's no reason to wait to put your pen to paper or set your fingers free on the keyboard, especially if your piece involves interviews (we all know how difficult it can be to find a mutually acceptable time to discuss a topic.) Start today by writing a few paragraphs, putting a working title together, or composing an outline for the piece, and add bits and pieces here and there. Don't wait until the final hour to put everything together.

Make Timelines Your Best Friends

If you're a professional writer but you don't have any way of organizing your calendar, it's time to start. By setting mini-deadlines (such as that all interviews have to be finished by this Friday, a rough draft of the piece has to be completed by Monday, et cetera), your big deadline won't sneak up on you.

Timelines will ensure that you are aware of your accomplishments every day or week; thus, you can chart your progress as you work on your articles bit by bit.

Plan for the Unexpected

Is your deadline the 20th? Then you should give yourself until the 18th to finish the job; thus, if you turn it in two days early, your editor will be thrilled. And if an emergency comes up and you wind up a day or two behind in your writing, you'll still be able to meet your deadline.

Stop Asking for Extensions

Make a pact with yourself - no more asking for extensions except in extremely rare cases. Vow to never request an extended deadline unless you truly need it. Too many writers accept more work than they can accomplish, then rely on extensions to get everything done. If you do this often enough, you'll be known less for your writing and more for your habitual procrastination.

You can even give yourself a strict limit on the number of extensions you are "allowed" to ask for in a given time period, such as a calendar year. That way, you'll only ask for extensions when you really need them, such as when a bout of influenza leaves you aching or a family member requires your attention.

Say No to Some Jobs

If you find yourself always missing deadlines or just barely meeting them, it might be time to rethink the amount of work you can complete. It's tough to say no to a writing job, and some writers simply will never be able to turn down work. However, in the long run, it's more important to keep up the quality of your writing and your reputation than it is to write yourself into a hole from which you cannot escape.

Allow yourself to say "no" sometimes; it's not lunacy, it's good business sense. And you'll be protecting your credibility as a top-notch writer whom editors and readers can trust.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Shay_Marie
    Re: Learning to Think Like a Writer
    I'm a young women who's graduated high school, and not yet been able to go to collage, but I have a passion for writing, and I…
    24 October 2017
  • Elena
    Re: Plot vs. Character
    I've been studying screen writing for 18 but feel I never can learn enough. I want to master the craft - eventually.
    23 August 2017
  • Chris
    Re: Script Writing Dialogue and Description
    Many, many thanks for the crafting of this scientific and auspicious art form of creativity*** you are hitting the…
    29 July 2017
  • JCarlos
    Re: What is a Synopsis and How to Write One
    I have no problem with writing screenplays but when it comes to writing the synopsis I just can't seem to write it…
    28 May 2017
  • deepu
    Re: Creating Your Website
    Use the prologue to provide backstory. One way to use a prologue is to provide backstory on a character or several characters. A backstory…
    15 May 2017
  • Nikki
    Re: What is a Synopsis and How to Write One
    Am writing a book on an African language and I wanted to know if i have to write a synopsis.
    7 May 2017
  • Giles
    Re: Narrative Journalism
    Hi there You might be interested in Well Told - it's the first conference in the UK to be dedicated to narrative and longform journalism.…
    18 April 2017
  • vanweha
    Re: Learning to Think Like a Writer
    i am young man who recently finished his high school. i have that passion of becoming a writter but i am too vulnerable to…
    12 March 2017
  • Lexy
    Re: Informative Writing
    This helped me with my informative essay for English honors 1. This was very helpful thank you.
    27 February 2017
  • Xeptional Angel Emen
    Re: What is Microfiction?
    can I write a micro story that the ending isn`t actually the end, like keep my audience in suspense or I must complete the story to give it…
    27 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreWriting website. Please read our Disclaimer.