Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

All writers need deadlines to give focus to their work

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Some years ago I worked at a job that required meeting two daily deadlines. It was a newspaper. Between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. I had to meet a first-edition deadline and a second-edition deadline. The pace was fun and exciting — for the first couple of years.

After a year or two, the feeling was more on how appropriate “dead” was in the word: Putting out two editions of a daily paper between early morning and mid-afternoon really ain’t all that easy.

Seven years of the newspaper gig wore me down. My next job was working as news editor for a weekly religious magazine. I had two weekly deadlines to meet. The pace was so radically different that I was almost hyper my first few months on the job. It felt like I had to find busy work to fill my time simply because “nothing” happened throughout most of the week. “Nothing,” was just my perception of what was happening, based on the seven year twice-daily deadline pace I was accustomed to facing.

Deadlines have a way of acting like dehumidifiers for the writing soul. Deadlines dry up the distractions you face as a writer and serve to focus your attention on 1) what you need to do, and, 2) getting it done when it needs to be done.

What do you do about deadlines? Are you doing work which sets deadlines for you, or are you freelancing and faced with setting your own deadlines? If you tell me you face no writing deadlines, I’ll guess that you really don’t get much writing done, do you?

Writers need deadlines, whether from editors or self-imposed, to do their best. If you have no regular deadlines, then set some for yourself.
[tags]writing deadlines, self-imposed deadlines, editorial deadlines, advice for new writers, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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One Response to “All writers need deadlines to give focus to their work”

  1. Tip Diva says:

    As a magazine editor, I’m constantly working under deadlines – and sometimes working on two or three issues at once.

    I need someone to set my deadlines for me, or my work wouldn’t get done. I am horrible at self-imposing personal deadlines, even though I try.

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