Having a firm due date provides authors with three essential benefits
Few people enjoy being confronted by a deadline. And due dates apply to writers perhaps more than most others. Deadlines harass us; they make us write when we’d rather do something else, something fun, important, or beneficial. Due dates force us to make sacrifices, too. But deadlines are not our enemy. They are our friends because of the offer us three key benefits.
1) Avoid Procrastination: Most people put off doing things, even important, essential tasks, such as a writer putting off writing. We call this procrastination. The reasons for this are many, and those who struggle with procrastination should explore the reasons behind it. Regardless, having a firm due date provides the motivation to avoid the ugly threat of procrastination. For example, I post on this blog each Saturday. This is my deadline—no excuses.
2) Avert Perfection: Another characteristic of many writers is an inner drive to make every word, phrase, and scene be exactly correct, to be perfect. Without deadlines, writers will continue to edit and tweak without end, day after day. A friend recently completed writing her novel. I asked how long she would spend editing it. Her simple answer spoke volumes: “Every day until it’s due.” Without a firm due date, she would have continued an endless pursuit of perfection.
3) Advance Production: When we hit deadlines we produce content, one piece at a time. Our writing production grows. Sometimes we see our submitted work published; other times, not. Regardless, these annoying, inconvenient deadlines cause our writing output to soar. Deadlines serve to expand our portfolio.
To realize these three advantages assumes that writers take deadlines seriously and don’t miss them. Otherwise, a due date becomes nothing more than a nagging distraction. We need to embrace deadlines for the benefits they produce and thank them for pushing us forward.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!