Writing and Publishing

Dealing with Submission Deadlines

As a magazine publisher, I deal with submission deadlines all the time. Without deadlines, nothing would ever happen; writers would invariably ask for additional time or, more likely, they’d never make time to write in the first place.

I don’t set submission deadlines to frustrate people; deadlines are necessary to move towards publication. Deadlines are also not arbitrary. They are but one item on a tight schedule I must follow to produce each issue on time.

As a publisher, I understand the critical importance of deadlines, which motivates me as a writer to never miss one. In fact, my goal is to beat every submission deadline I’m given. Though I’ve cut things close a few times, I’ve never missed one yet; usually, I’m a few days early. I know how much editors and publishers appreciate timely submissions and even more so how much they welcome early arrivals.

While I excel at meeting other people’s deadlines, I’m awful at the ones I set for myself. With no outside pressure to propel me forward, I invariably find a reason for the delay. My excuse is I need more time to make it better.

The problem is I can always make it better. This is the tyranny of perfection. As a recovering perfectionist, I still struggle with my inner voice that whispers, It’s not done; it can be better; you need more time.

Thus, my self-imposed deadline slips. I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with that.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

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