Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Creative Writing: Meeting those Deadlines

Are deadlines your nemesis?

Meeting the Deadline
By Scott Lindsay

A nemesis to all writers is an imposed deadline. Whether that deadline is from a publisher or as part of a writing contest or challenge the deadline screams at us to hurry up while our muse is certain the story just isn’t quite right yet.

As you develop your writing career or writing business you will likely find deadlines come more often and from a variety of sources.

Let me paint a scenario…

A client has requested 10 content articles for their website and you have agreed to provide that material to them on a certain date. You have moved through research and have compiled five of the articles and you have two days to complete the remaining articles.

As you check your emails you hear back from a magazine publisher that has decided, at the very last moment, to use an article you sent weeks ago. They need you to provide a rewrite of the article focusing on a more narrowly defined idea – and they need it tomorrow.

Do you ask for an extension on the content articles? Do you decline the rewrite because of your content deadline? Do you stay up all night to get it done? How exactly do you respond?

You could ask for an extension of the deadline on the content writing and it might be granted. You could decline the rewrite because you want to assure your content client you can deliver on time. You could stay up all night and try to get the re-write done and hope you can function the next day to manage the content writing.

The biggest lesson in this is to work hard at reducing over commitment. Each piece of writing you send to an editor needs to contain the same attention to detail as any other piece of writing. You should honestly assess how much work you can comfortably do in a given period of time. Then, you should only accept work that fits in a framework that allows you to maintain the highest level of Integrity.

Do not fall prey to the impulse to simply throw something together at the last minute in order to meet a deadline. This reflects poorly on your work ethic and may cause a client to reconsider who they use for future work.

Know your limits and be willing to say ‘NO’ to work that may conflict with your ability to complete work on time. It may mean passing up something you’d rather be doing, but by explaining your situation you may be surprised by an editor willing to work with you despite a deadline.

Remember, as a writer of faith we work for the Lord, not for men. Make sure Jesus can be pleased with your efforts.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters ( and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers. Members include writers from all around the world. Please visit the website at:

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