I’m going to pull away from style and craft for a moment and discuss something that everyone suffers from — even copy editors. And that is deadlines. In writing news stories this is a very vital part of how things are run. It is easy to forget when you are writing that there is only so much time to do it all in.
Don’t be late
While you may be worrying about if you will finish on time do not forget about your editor friend. He or she has a deadline as well, and its usually shortly after yours. I’m not saying rush to finish your work, that would hurt both you and me and cause more work for both of us. Take the time you have, just don’t wait until the last minute before we go to print and expect a beautiful story to come out of it.
Now for us editors we need to understand that there is a limited time to get everything done. Start with any of the big changes first before getting into the miniscule problems. And while we would see how we would write it keep the author’s voice in the story. That is the upside to deadlines. We, editors don’t get enough time to think about how we would write it. There is just enough time to fix the story up and send it on up the chain to the next person.
It’s not all the same
Now with magazines it can be different depending on what magazine you are looking at. If you are freelancing then you have to fight to get a spot first. If you get in then you have the deadline to contend with. Unlike with news stories and being in an office there is no one breathing down your neck in freelancing. It is just you aiming for a deadline you are given. And if you miss it then you are out of luck. Also submitting last minute in this case would most likely not get you a chance to be in that issue.
The new’s world
Deadlines run the magazine and news worlds. Without it nothing would get done, or it would be too late and no longer relevant. Writers and editors alike need to keep this in mind as they rush to get everything done. While one project ends another one is getting started and everyone needs to make sure that what is being written is going to be relevant when it comes out. Things are apt to change, but most broad topics will keep you on task.
It can be hard to aim towards that deadline when it is very far off in the distance, but it’ll be on you before you know it. Don’t take the risk and keep working even when it seems you have plenty of time. The worst case scenario is that you get done early and allow your editor friend to have a bit longer look at your piece and provide better feedback. But that’s your choice.