“Clock’s Ticking” by Rachel Syme is a review in The New Yorker July 5, 2021 issue of “The Deadline Effect’ a book by magazine editor Christopher Cox. But the article is as much about Syme as about the book.
The Cox book is about the editor’s efforts to persuade writers to meet their necessary deadlines to publish the magazine on time.
And that’s good—reminding the tardy writer that many other people down the line—the copyeditors, the proofreaders, the publishers, the readers—are depending on YOU to turn in the work.
Part of the article is about Syme’s own difficulty in meeting her deadlines as a independent journalist. There are some journalists, she writes, who sensibly budget their time researching, writing, and editing and there are some—like her—who wait till the last minute and panic—often writing inaccuracies, incompleteness, and bad prose.
I’ll leave you to read the short article, if you’re interested, but my own take on deadlines: I’m good to go on copyediting and proofreading—I always meet my deadlines for those tasks—but  I’ll never write creative content on a deadline EVER again. Something about a deadline stops my creative flow dead—even if I have a proposal, even if I have an outline. Nope. The creative work has to be DONE before I can commit to a publishing deadline.
Do you have trouble with deadlines?
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