Why Deadlines Are Important (Even If You Miss Them)

5 Nov

‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’ This was the thoughts of Douglas Adams, best known as the author of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy on this. He was apparently notorious for missing them but always seemed to get there in the end.  This brings me to the topic of this posting, the rather thorny subject of deadlines. Most authors have a love-hate relationships with deadlines, but it is extremely important to have one, even if you miss it. And then the next one. And the next after that. The reason deadlines are so important is that they provide you with a marker, something against which you can measure where you are against where you should be. If you don’t have deadlines, you have no yardstick for comparison and you will find your project drifting off into the ‘Never to be completed’ pile.

When working on a writing project (and this equally applies to my academic writing as my fiction writing), I feel that setting deadlines is an essential part of my work plan.  The deadlines I set are not just for me, but for everyone else I involve in my writing projects. This includes co-authors (the academic stuff) and people I ask to read my work over (my fiction writing). I found over the years that if I don’t give myself and others a deadline, things will quickly wander off track.  As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and it is the same with writing projects.  If you have a deadline, it will stay close to the top of your ‘to do’ pile. If you don’t, it will gradually creep lower and lower until it’s forgotten.  The issue here isn’t necessarily hitting your deadline, just that having one provides a way for you to know if everything is on course or whether you need to put in a bit more effort to keep it on track.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.

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