Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writers and Deadlines

Kansas City Royals World Series Win Brought Record Crowds on Parade Day

Most of us in Kansas are Royals fans, even if we don't watch every game. Ken and I get involved with seeing the games on TV when they reach the play-offs and into the World Series. You must know, unless you live in a cave, that The Royals beat the Mets to win the series. Yesterday, there was a parade through downtown Kansas City where hundreds of thousands gathered to celebrate. I've heard estimates from 450,000 to 800,000--either way it's a whole lot of folks!

The Kansas City Star newspaper did a masterful job in covering the play-offs and the World Series games. Many staffers stayed long into the night to get stories written and the paper out as close to usual time as possible. Journalists work under deadlines and tremendous pressure. Yes, they probably do grow accustomed to it, but pressure is pressure. Not all people can handle it. 

How's your working toward a deadline score? Does it stress you to have a deadline to meet? Or does it motivate you to get your rear in gear and tap out those words? 

Contests have deadlines. Miss it and your chance of winning goes right to the bottom of the heap. Anthologies have deadlines. Chicken Soup editors recommend getting your submissions in long before the deadline. They claim that your story has a better chance if sent earlier. Still, sending it very close to deadline doesn't count you out because they also claim to read each and every submission. Magazines or ezines with themes usually have deadlines. 

Some writers work best when they have a deadline. Each day, they get out of bed with that Gotta write! Gotta write! Gotta write! attitude when a date to finish looms over them. It pushes them. They were probably college students who stayed up all night to finish a paper for English Lit. 

Other writers feel too pressured when they try to write to a deadline. They prefer writing on their own schedule and submitting to publications that take submissions on a regular basis. 

Writers are like the rest of the people in our world--all a little different in the way they approach jobs. Is one way better than the other? Will you be more productive if you write to deadlines? I think not. We're individuals and we need to work with the method that is best for each of us. You might admire another writer who can write to deadlines, even very short deadlines like newspaper reporters have. Go ahead and admire them but work to your own level. 

Do you remember being a teen-ager and hearing your parents say something like  If all your friends jump off a bridge, that doesn't mean you have to do it, too. They wanted you to be your own person, make your own decisions work the way that is best for you. Even all these years later, it still works.

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