D is for DEADLINE

The April Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues!

d

D is for DEADLINE

 If nobody dies when they miss a deadline, what’s the big deal?  Because your editor wants to kill you.

If you’ve made a commitment, set a date, and got someone else on board with your project, you have an obligation to follow through.

This may not have been a big deal when you were writing that 5-paragraph essay for Mrs. Whatshername in 6th grade…especially if it wasn’t an assignment you had any say in.  BUT, you’re playing with the big kids now, and deadlines matter.

DEADLINE = Deliver or Die

I’m amazed at how many writers think a deadline is flexible.  As if the calendar is some kind of temporal gateway, and dates can be sucked back and forth through time to accommodate the writer.  As an editor, I can assure you that missing a deadline throws off the whole series of events that must occur once your manuscript is submitted.  (Sorry, it’s not as perfect as you imagine.)  Editing, proofreading, formatting, proofreading again, citation checks, copyright checks, photo attributions…. there is an endless list of items that need to be acted on after you’ve delivered your piece.  And while you may have stayed up all night to finish that puppy, I can assure you I do not want to be up all night trying to catch up to your missed deadline!

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The fact is, we’re all just dominoes in a long chain.  When one falls, the others follow – usually in a pleasing pattern that ends with a polished piece we can all enjoy.  But if the first domino never falls, the rest of us are just left standing there.

Be the King Domino.  Cause a chain reaction.  Meet your Deadline.

Leave a comment for me, if you please.  Writing is a lonely business.

Also, visit some of the other few thousand bloggers participating in the A to Z challenge by clicking below:

Why I Hate JANO…

We’re halfway through JANO 2012 – January Novel Writing Month (based on the well-known, but unfortunately timed NANO, or NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month in November).

I started this month with high hopes of writing massive amounts of words on my chosen book project, 50,000 words being the ultimate goal.  However, the experience of JANO has taught me a few things…

1)  The creators of JANO have mistakenly placed the event during an actual month on my calendar, rather than a fictional, faraway time of year that I can continue to schedule my writing for.

2)  The desire to add words to my daily count has an inverse relationship to my desire to wash dishes, fold laundry, cook meals, and do the work I actually get paid for.  This has had a negative effect on my ability to have guests in my home or receive a full paycheck.

3)  Participation in JANO requires specialized equipment.  Since the average person “thinks” approximately 15,000 words per day, I could complete my novel in less than four days if I only had a mind transcription machine.

4) Write-In events are far too restrictive. There is insufficient time scheduled for writing after catching up with friends, exchanging gossip, reading everyone else’s work to date, sipping a grande chai tea latte, and speculating on the circumference of construction workers’ biceps across the street.

5)  While JANO champions tout the “inspiration” that concentrated writing brings, I feel there needs to be an addendum to that sentiment.  Although I have been inspired to write blog posts, send messages to friends, plot three new novels, start a book discussion group, sign up for an Analysis of English literature course, and re-read “Elements of Style”, I have NOT been inspired to finish this @!*&% book!

6) The contests are elitest and unfair.  Requiring participants to produce a “first line”, “first page”, and “final count” makes the competition accessible only to those who start or finish a project.  There is no category for those who procrastinate, speculate, or marinate on an idea.

7)  No health risks were posted upon sign-up.  I have developed left-eye-muscle strain from continual glances at the corner of my screen to ascertain word count, and no warnings were given regarding possible hair loss, nail biting, or eye gouging.

8)  There is no exit program or halfway house in place for the end of the event.  How am I expected to continue in the months to come without daily updates from the competition and the lure of gift baskets and goodie bags?

9)  Information sharing leads to genre confusion.  After hearing other writers’ ideas and plot summaries, I am no longer content with my chosen category of writing, and feel an uncontrollable urge to pen a gothic-sci-fi-romance-steampunk-children’s poem about the apocalypse.

10)  None of my writing about writing goes towards my word count – including this 453-word post!

That being said, let’s carry on.  There are words to be written, and I need to get busy planning for next year’s JANO event!