When Good Deadlines Go Bad

 What do you do when you miss a deadline?   Do you hide from your editor?   Maybe, if things are bad enough, you don’t even communicate with her until coffeethe deadline is long past and she asks what is going on.  There are writers who do that.  I’ve had to cover for them.  While I enjoy the paycheck, I don’t enjoy writing an article in a third of the time I usually have.

Last weekend I missed a deadline.   This wasn’t a minor little ho-hum, ‘what’s the big deal’ kind of deadline.  This was one of my anchor jobs, an editor I query every year without fail.  The problem came in verifying quotes.  I had heard back on several but not the most important. 

Fortunately, e-mail makes pinging my editor a breeze so I sent her an e-mail and explained the situation.  “No worry.  Take a few days to get this done.”

Phew.  I always get worked up when I have to contact an editor about a deadline I can’t meet.  It has only happened five or six times but I hate it. 

Deadlines are important.  Your editor needs to know when to expect things from you and you want to know when to expect notes for a rewrite and, later, that check.  But sometimes, things happen.  Let your editor know what is going on, that you are making an honest effort. 

Unless you’d rather just blow it off and let one of us have your check. 

Now, I’ve got to go.  My coffee cup is empty and I’ve got an article to work on.