Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Need Deadlines

It seems that almost every online ad for a writing gig contains the requirement of being able to meet deadlines. That's fine with me because I'm used to working with deadlines. In fact, I'm used to working with extremely tight (and often unrealistic) deadlines. I've been known to do whatever I can to meet a deadline, even if it means staying up all night.

What I didn't know until recently is that I actually really need deadlines to work effectively. Case in point is the article I've been working on for a local electronic publication. Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning (all two of you) will remember how excited I was about working up the nerve to contact the editor and subsequently being rewarded with an article.

I was excited then and I'm still excited. That's why it's kind of strange that I'm still working on the article nearly four weeks later. And by still working on it, I mean that I haven't touched it since the week before Thanksgiving.

The problem is that the editor gave me a nebulous deadline for the article. She told me they wouldn't be able to publish it until after the first of the year so there was no hurry. I should have set a deadline myself, committed to it and told her when I'd get it to her, but that's not what I did. Consequently, the article is only about 60 percent done. I still have to interview one more person, which is the biggest holdup since I'm apprehensive about interviewing people because I'm still getting used to it. (My first interview went very well, though, so I should have just kept the ball rolling.)

This is dumb for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I want to be seen as a professional who can finish things in a timely fashion. Additionally, this article is pretty high paying compared to some of my other work and I could really use the money.

So, I'm setting a firm deadline for myself to finish it this week. I'm also going to commit to the practice of setting deadlines for all future projects and announcing them to my clients ahead of time. That should help me to get things done in a timely fashion.

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