Dear Crabby, Have you ever Missed a Deadline?

Dear Crabby, I’m a New Freelance Writer and I’m Wondering, Have you ever Missed a Deadline?

Sincerely, Fred Lance


Funny you should ask. I missed my last deadline and pulled your question out of the proverbial hat serendipitously. I normally don’t use such a hefty vocabulary, but I feel the need to impress my editor to keep my job.

Labor Day Weekend was a lot of work – pun intended – as it is every year. Then we had another big weekend planned – kids, grandkids – with lots of packing and unpacking and repacking. And in all the excitement, I just plain forget to write my column. Therefore, I guess you’ll get two this week.

Dear Crabby Gives AdviceSince I majored in curmudgeonly and not journalism, I think they’ll let me off the hook. However, for you – yes – you should keep your deadlines. As you may know, our Managing Editor Michael Dwyer, hosts writers’ events designed to help you on your path to become, and to be, a better writer or author. I went to one of meetings at Barnes & Noble and asked him what the key was to be a successful freelance writer. He said you needed to do two things. First, know the audience of the publication – who are you writing to, and second, give the editor what he or she wants – word count, photos, quotes. This is good advice for any job.

Nevertheless, the number one complaint from editors is missing deadlines. Think of any other job – they want you to show up on time and do your work – right? Same here but in reverse. You do all your work first then submit it on time. I only write this column, so I don’t have to work at it like you’ll have to. Editors will use the same freelancers – repeatedly – as long as the work is good and they make their deadlines.

Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but that simple advice was enough for me. If you want to learn more about all of this, I suggest you attend the Rochester Writers’ Conference held at Oakland University on October 8.

Got to go, I’ve got another column due on Thursday.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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