Writing without a deadline is like beaming a laser light into the night sky. The end cannot be found because the writing will never end. If you don’t give a writer a deadline, he will write and write forever. Doing a change here, adding a detail there. The list goes on. The word deadline has some negative hint to it, too. Take note that it has the word “dead” at the beginning. It might as well be called dreadline – the dreaded deadline. Or it was probably a shortcut to a longer phrase: “I’ll be dead at the end of the line.”
But deadlines can be friendly reminders to do a job well and send in what needs to be sent. They give writer a sense of order amidst the chaos of other articles on queue, or other lined-up work to do including non-writing jobs. Let’s see why deadlines are very important and maybe writers should see it as some serious tips for writing.
The pressure is off
Time management is the key to unlocking the deadline bolt. And so you have a deadline? Give yourself a deadline within what your editor gave you. Make it a few days earlier than the actual date. This way, you can have extra time if an emergency crops up that you cannot get away from. Or if you DO meet your self-imposed deadline, you will have extra days of R&R, self-imposed, of course.
Don’t look at it as a deadline
Imagine that it’s actually a reward when you look at a deadline. This will give you extra motivation because the reward is very satisfying. You get a sense of achievement. Give yourself a pat on the back, good job for sending it on time.
You’ll have a great reputation
If writers meet deadlines, they get to be relied upon to come through with whatever task they’re asked to do. Soon, they will have a reputation of always meeting deadlines. Remember, editors like compliant writers. It takes some of the stress off their load.
Tips for writing with deadlines
- List down all your writing tasks with the corresponding deadlines. Place your list where you can clearly see it.
- Tick off each one once you’ve done them.
- Do the easy tasks first. These require less time to do and less effort. The harder ones need more time and planning.
- Update your publisher/editor/client with your progress. Give him a draft before sending in the final one.
- It’s tempting but don’t get more work than you can handle. You’re only human.
- Stick to your timetable. Even if you’re freelancing, treat it like a normal 9 to 5 job, with rules to follow and tasks to finish.
Not all writers love deadlines. They think it’s restricting. But at the end of the day, it still is a job to do. Something that needs to be done to pay the bills. Practice these tips for writing and meeting deadlines. It’s not easy at first but in time, you will learn to love deadlines. So if you’re serious at being a freelance writer, deadlines should be your best friend and procrastination is your worst enemy. Your BFF will take you away from your comfort zone just to make you meet a deadline. Even if it means isolating you from family, friends, usual luxuries and all other things that can distract you from finishing your work. It’s a tough job, being a best friend, but somebody’s got to do it.