Deadline Discussion

Ah, the dreaded deadline.

For some freelance writers, a deadline can be a good thing. They help you schedule work and determine how much available time you have for the job.

But too often, deadlines seem to be constantly looming. Many freelance writers scramble to meet them, cutting corners while knowing their work isn’t as good as it could be.

How could that happen? Shouldn’t scheduling be smoother? Why are deadlines always a threatening thing?

How you calculated your rate of production when you started the project might be the reason you’re always rushing to meet short deadlines. Here’s how to readjust so you can work at a relaxed pace that’s right for you:

Figure Out Your Pace

Know how long it takes you to write a certain number of words. Everyone works at different paces.

Can you write three 500-word articles a day? Maybe you have a day job and can only write one article in the evening? Are you a marathoner that slams out ten articles in two days, or do you get mentally exhausted easily and need a day off in between bursts of creativity?

Figure Out Your Rate of Production

Alright, you’ve got that magic number down. You’ve decided you can write ten articles in two days. That’s five articles a day – your rate of daily production.

But what’s your weekly rate of production? This number will be far more important in accepting deadlines you can meet. You may be able to crank out ten articles in two days, but you may end up burnt out the next day and need a break.

Your rate of production, therefore, isn’t five articles a day in a seven-day period (or 35 articles a week). Your true rate of production is 3.3 articles a day (or 23 articles a week). That’s a big difference – almost 13 articles, to be exact.

Figure Out What to Tell Clients

Knowing your rate of production in a seven-day period allows you to agree on reasonable, realistic deadlines. Cutting yourself short by using your daily rate of production in deadline calculation means you’ll be stressed out and rushing to meet the mark.

It also means that you may not make the deadline, have to ask the client for an extension, or produce sloppy work.

It’s okay to tell clients that high-quality work takes the time that it takes. If clients can’t wait and want their articles tomorrow, you can choose to take the job and rush or let the client find someone else that can write like rabbits breed.

Don’t worry about turning down a job you know you can’t handle – didn’t Aesop say that slow and steady wins the race?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.