For some reason, the last week of June is jam-packed with deadlines for me. Various indie publishers are hosting contests or extremely brief windows of submission opportunity and I’m preparing fancy cover letters for Rooted in the Sky like crazy; a few months ago I decided to submit something to a Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul anthology (of course, the one about writing advice) and I keep rewriting it, unhappy, as the June 30th deadline looms closer; also, I’ve been holding out on telling you all, but I was approached by Ploughshares several months ago to write a guest blog post for their Literary Boroughs series and after many visits to Philadelphia and several long hours of compiling all the information into lovely sentences, I finally turned it in yesterday (I’m really excited to share this post with you. It goes up July 4th!). On top of all that, I have a bundle of self-imposed deadlines to finish other projects (namely the Byberry book).
In general, deadlines work for me. I’ve only missed a deadline once in my entire life, but I knew the deadline wasn’t practical, because the project had swelled in scope, nearly a month ahead of time and thus managed to garner a reluctant extension from my professor.
Deadlines help me gauge how much I need to get done each day or each week. I divide the project up into segments so that I’m constantly on schedule (or, at least, have time built in for an all-nighter so I can catch up and be on schedule eventually).
How about you? Do you work well with deadlines? Do they have to be “real” deadlines set by editors and publishers, or will you obey deadlines that you set for yourself?