May 10

Killer Deadlines

An inexpensive trenchcoat of waterproof khaki ...
An inexpensive trenchcoat of waterproof khaki with a snap-out lining by VEB Leipziger Bekleidungswerks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deadlines happen, and they’re good at causing stress and crushing creativity. Deadlines are important, but your work is always more important. If you’re working towards a writing deadline, start early and finish early. I don’t recommend handing your work in early because it gives time for editors to ask for rewrites and other things that make you feel you’re being touched in your “no no places” by a creepy stranger in a trench coat.

The tricky part is that you need to meet your deadlines, but you never need to agree to tight deadlines in the first place. If someone asks you to deliver a project by May 31, but they don’t give you materials and a brief until May 30, you can say no, even if you previously agreed to do the project. If all of your time gets eaten up by someone else not getting their job done, it’s not your problem. The stress and pressure should not be downloaded to you. Do, always make it clear ahead of time how much time you need to do your work. If you said one week and someone gives you that project on May 30, you tell them that they’ll get it back on June 6, regardless of their deadlines.

Lots of people allow money to be the motivator, and money can mean a lot, especially if you’re having trouble paying the bills. I don’t recommend ever taking a project that doesn’t have enough time because it can negatively affect the quality of your work; however, if you absolutely need the money and fear that you’ll lose the job by not meeting an unreasonable deadline, you must charge extra for it. Although you might feel that you should help out a client in need, remember that they didn’t do anything to help you out when they stuck you with a ridiculous timeline in the first place. Your daytime hours are worth a different price than your nighttime and weekend hours. Many people have trouble seeing that, but it’s true. Your daytime hours are intentional work hours. Your nights and weekends are family, social, and general relaxation and wellness hours, and they’re worth more money, so if you absolutely must take the project with the tighter deadlines, let the client know ahead of time that if they can’t get you what you need on time, there will be additional costs. This will create a financial barrier to the client taking away your weekends, and if it doesn’t then at least you’ll be getting paid appropriately.


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Posted May 10, 2013 by Son of Sappho in category "Tips

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