Most people meet deadlines head-on. I’m not one of them.
Approaching deadlines are some kind of sub-conscious signal for me to drift off into another dimension, totally oblivious to whatever else has to be done.
I had been working on an article since before COVID-19 hampered the travel plans of half the planet, or was it all of the planet? Anyway, the article was about a store I love spending time in.
With travel restrictions, I figured if I couldn’t get there, neither could anyone else. Well that is, unless you live in the immediate neighbourhood of the store.
Mistake No. 1 – There is plenty of time to finish writing the story…
I write articles about favourite stores for an online publication, and I usually give myself a week to get it done. If I drag it on too long I end up just about rewriting it all, sentence by sentence, because I tend to over-edit everything. A week is good. Just enough time to do due diligence without overworking it.
When I took the photos and started writing the article back in February, that was the plan.
Then COVID-19 put us all in some form of lockdown which ended my self-imposed one-week deadline.
“There is no point in rushing to finish the article”, I figured. “Nobody can get there until travel restrictions are eased, so there’s no hurry”.
Besides, if I published during lockdown (otherwise known as isolation, or just ‘iso’ here in Australia), the article would end up buried at the bottom of a very large heap of articles. By the time we could travel again, nobody would have read the story, or they would have forgotten about it.
That was February.
Now it is October, and I finally hit the Submit button this morning.
Deadlines or no deadlines – it’s your choice
And I made the wrong choice.
The Border between New South Wales and Queensland is still technically closed, but residents in the Border Zone can squeeze through, as long as they have the appropriate pass.
Queenslanders, effectively grounded since March, can now cross over on to our side as long as they have a Border Zone Pass to show on their return.
The store I wrote about is just a smidge over the Border, on my side.
But I didn’t create a deadline for when I should finish writing the article. I played around with it a few times: a photo here; an external link there; a few more sentences overall.
But No Deadline!
And so the unfinished article lingered until this past week.
So what created the urgency?
I needed to visit the store, and I had to apologise to the owner for not submitting the article sooner.
Kitty sells fabrics and every craft item you could imagine. As I apologised, she looked at me awkwardly… “and how much is this article going to cost me?” she asked.
“Not a cent”, I explained. “The online forum uses advertising to provide cash awards for well written articles. Besides, I get to promote a local business I love, which helps to keep that business in business. Oh, and I get to improve my writing skills”.
“I will submit the article by the end of the week”, I promised.
And then the panic set in. Heck, I was still a long way from being ready to publish, and the week was slipping away faster than an ice-block in a heat wave.
All Nighters – All Round
Well, at least one night extended into the very early hours of the next morning as I typed furiously to finish.
I was determined to submit that article by Sunday! Sunday is the end of the week, right? Well, it is this week. Tomorrow is the start of a whole new week, in my book.
I typed, then proof-read for hours this morning.
‘Are the sections clear?’; ‘Are the photos too close together?’ ‘Does that sentence make sense?’.
And then finally, enough was enough.
One last check of the behind the scenes stuff like categories, alternate email headings, tags…
And that, dear folks, is why my website, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge for the fast disappearing October, were totally ignored. Again.
So on the question of ‘Deadlines or no deadlines – it’s your choice’ – I should have set strict deadlines.
Nobody, least of all me, should ever tell me that there is no hurry to get that story written!
Note: I just checked on the article… Not only is it published already, but I earned my first Gold Award for it!
Maybe taking longer to write it paid off.
I am stoked!
Although somehow the formatting that looked right while I was writing it, looks all skewed on the website. Ah well… it’s done.