Deadline Dilemmas

It’s no secret missed deadlines are a great way to end a professional relationship with a publication. They are a nightmare for both the writer and the editor. The editor is left holding the bag with thousands of dollars on the line waiting on a late article and the writer is off somewhere sweating bullets trying to pull a rabbit out of a badly squished hat.

And, while the entire FWJ blogging crew can take turns yelling out into the world wide web that writers should NEVER miss a deadline, it is going to happen. The best we can do is try to arm writers with ways to stay on track.

False Dates

I’m a mother of three children under 7, I write full-time and run a business with a life thrown in there. I’m REALLY busy and if I don’t write an appointment, due date or event immediately on my calendar it disappears from my brain after 10 minutes. So, it’s sad but I can easily trick myself into thinking an article is due earlier. I give myself several days leeway because life happens. Kids get sick, clients have emergencies, somebody spills milk on my laptop… A few days cushion can make the difference between a heart attack and a mild headache.


A disorganized is a writer who misses deadlines. The long loved image of the disorganized writer not only does a disservice to writers it’s a falsehood. Maybe novelist can be disorganized, they only have one due date looming over them. Bloggers, columnists and article writers juggle multiple dates and if they do not have a way to keep track of important dates, ideas and information they are a deadline time bomb waiting to go off.

Even if they have the date correct, they can spend days digging through piles of paperwork and notebooks to find all of the notes or research related to the article. Or worse, an editor calls to clarify something and you’ve got to spend three hours looking through your ‘files’ for the correct information. Get rid of the clutter.


They say it’s not good to bribe children into good behavior. Well, for adults it works very well! Reward yourself when you turn in assignments early. Building your reputation with a publication is a great reward, but an in-hand treat is a visual motivator that’s hard to beat.

Staying on task is difficult in any profession, and writers often juggle dozens of deadlines at any given time. It doesn’t matter the reason, missing a deadline is unacceptable. Working ahead, staying organized and rewarding oneself for good behavior are just a few ways writers can make deadlines manageable. How do you manage your deadlines? Got any tips for other readers? Tell us below!


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