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Confession of an overshot deadline

As in two months overshot.

You may be aware of my tendency to fall deeply in love with researching the subject(s) of an article, so much so that I find it difficult to end that phase of the writing process. The research about Catalan food, however, set a new personal record, and I overshot my deadline for Real Eats by a full two months.

This would have been bad enough, but I compounded the issue by not even communicating with my editor about the delay. I did this because I hate being late, I was embarrassed about it, and I was sure (no, really I was!) that I’d finish it in just a couple more days.

But a couple more days turned into a couple more weeks and then, here we were, two months past my deadline. Finally, it was time to send the editor an email and fess up:

The only excuse I have for not submitting my article on time to you two months ago is both a real one and the true one: I became obsessively immersed in the story and ended up going back to Catalunya twice. All I can say is that it was (and remains) an absolutely delightful rabbit hole. That does not excuse me, however, from (1) not having delivered the story and (2) not sending you an email just to let you know the status of things. I could happily stay in the rabbit hole for the rest of my life (where I would nibble on a very special cheese made by a local producer), but it’s like a dissertation: you’ve got to know when to stop. I could easily eke out three different stories, but I wanted to get in touch to apologize for my lack of communication and to see if you’re still interested in the volcanic cooking piece we originally agreed upon, which I could deliver to you next week.

Within an hour or so, she had replied:

And it is entirely my fault for not telling you that Real Eats went out of business very early in May. So no worries on both our parts…. Sorry there is no longer a potential outlet for this story with Real Eats. Such is the way of the digital publishing world these days.

Though I felt relieved, I still felt badly about my lack of professionalism.

Have you ever overshot a deadline? By how much and why? Fess up in the comments.


2 responses »

  1. Yikes! I definitely have never missed a deadline, even self-imposed ones. It’s one of the things I stick to, and I’m very proud of the fact that I always deliver on time (and usually early). So sorry to hear the publication folded. It sounds like you have enough material to pitch to many other magazines, though.


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