Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are you a deadline wimp or champ?

Stress and deadlines weave themselves together nicely.

As a journalist, I did my fair share of worry, nail biting, pacing and yelling. I'm not proud of the yelling, but I learned from my mistakes.

I worked at the student newspaper in college — organized and professional.

My first newspaper job after graduation was chaotic and in disarray on deadline days. I reported for my first day of work at 8 a.m. I left after midnight. The publisher told me to go home and he would finish the odds and ends. He worked into the early morning hours.

When a weekly newspaper I worked for switched to a twice-weekly publication, the deadlines seemed easier. At a daily newspaper, the deadlines seemed as easy as taking a lunch break. At the end of the day, I knew the paper would be published.

Missing a deadline was never an option. It cost the company time and money. Plus there was the personal push back. If you missed a deadline for something stupid, the press crew didn't like you and the carriers (the folks who deliver the paper in the early morning hours) wanted to kill you. Add in subscribers, who expected their paper at 6:05 a.m. every morning and you might have an angry mob on your hands.

Best to always meet deadlines. Less drama.

Now, I'm a one-man ship, but I still have deadlines. The ones I make for myself. A few weeks ago, I almost missed a submission deadline for an anthology and a contest. I knew about the deadlines, but we had several family events and travel that made me think it was okay to push back the work.

My plan derailed once the summer sickies attacked us after our travels.

As soon as I felt better, I wrote, revised and wrote some more. I made the deadline, so now we'll see what happens. I wish I had pushed myself harder before the trip to work on those essays.

We live. We learn. So, I spent some time reorganizing my goals for the remainder of 2011. I added a few submission goals and took a few away to match family activities.

I like deadlines, especially when I make them.

How do you make your deadlines? Are you a deadline wimp or a champ?

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