Over the past week I’ve been searching through Duotrope for publications that I would like to send work out to. Actually, what really happened was I was updating my statistics and bookmarking on Duotrope and that led me to search, because right now I have three deadlines approaching fast and the last thing I need is to find more publications until these ones are done. But I did. Six in fact winning me a total of 11 publications.
Some of these publications have deadlines, and some of them don’t. It’s not often that I usually submit to publications that have a deadline. Generally I have a story already written and then I look for a place to send it to. This time I did the opposite.
Knowing I had three deadlines approaching, I looked for publications that had deadlines past August so I wouldn’t end up writing myself to death. Half of the publications I found did not have deadlines, which worked out. I know that they’ll be there when I finally get around to figuring something out. For the other half I wrote down the deadline dates with the hopes that I’ll actually figure something out before the time for submitting comes (and hopefully these ideas will be good ideas).
Deadlines can be your best friend and your worst enemy. The good thing about deadlines: organization.
Knowing when I need to submit a piece works for me because then I have more of a drive. I write down when the piece needs to be submitted by, then I make sure to finish the piece well in advance so I have enough time to edit.
The bad thing about deadlines: procrastination.
I know this kind of goes against what I just said, but knowing that you have a deadline makes it easier to procrastinate as well. If you start early, you think: Oh, I can work on something else because I have time. Then you realize you have a week to put something together and you feel the pressure. Some people are good at working under pressure. I am not one of those people. I prefer to have everything done well in advance to not stress myself out. Which is a great quality to have.
I rarely procrastinate, but this summer I am. Big time. Like I said, I have three deadlines in August: 8/1, 8/15, and 8/31. I’ll let you guess which one I haven’t worked on yet. In fact, this entire post is a form of procrastination. I could be working on the piece due 8/1 that I’m not even half way done on my lunch break, but instead I decided to write a post about deadlines and procrastination. Because that’s the way things work sometimes.
So my advice: keep an eye on your deadline. It’s better to send in a piece that has been edited a hundred times, than sending in something you wrote up the night before.