Rushing to meet writing deadlines

Rushing your writing or editing to meet deadlines, whether self-imposed or external deadlines, can be stressful at any time of the year. It is usually better to submit a shorter, more polished document than a longer, unfinished document full of distracting errors. Your readers are reading the document in front of them, so make it the best you can in the time available.

Here are my tips from my own and clients’ experiences:

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Focus on the parts that are most important.
  • Prioritise the many possible changes.
  • Fix up what you’ve got and don’t add more incomplete text.
  • If in doubt about some text, delete it.
  • Accept that it might not be perfectly perfect this time.
  • Take care with changes made at the last minute.

Be aware of the nature of your deadline. Is it a hard or soft deadline? What happens to the document after the deadline? You may have another chance to fix up the document after the first apparent deadline. Keep a list of items to check or adjust if you do have more time.

There’s no doubt that deadlines can be stressful, but they help ensure a writing task is finished, so you can move on to the next one.

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