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Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Deadline


As Douglas Adams wrote in The Salmon of Doubt, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Whooshing noises (in lieu of submissions) are fine and dandy. But why don’t writers take some initiative for once — and actively avoid their deadlines? It only takes a significantly larger amount of energy to avoid writing than writing, so why not?

Why didn’t you become a car mechanic? Illustration by Josh Quick.

Here are some suggestions to that end which don’t involve alcohol poisoning, but do involve putting away your pen:
1. Contact your scientist friend for the first time in years. How is her flux capacitor research coming along, you wonder?
2. All your calendars mysteriously vanish from sight one day. Luckily, if you can’t see something, it doesn’t exist.
3. Instead of writing, spend a week on Ancestry.com, searching for an ancient Aunt Mildred who could kick the bucket on deadline day — thus generating an urgent “family emergency” you simply must attend to.
4. Convince a publisher to set their deadline even earlier in an attempt at reverse psychology. Horrified, you watch as they actually do it. Quit your job.
5. Buy a one-way ticket to Bangkok. You’re not avoiding anything. You’re on a quest for inspiration.
6. Attend a writer’s group in the region and try to swap notebooks with anyone. Anyone?
7. Phone your mom sobbing and ask her to make the world nice again. Fast forward two days, and your submission deadline didn’t budge — but you find oatmeal cookies in your mailbox!
8. Stare at your word count in Microsoft Word until you wonder why you didn’t become a car mechanic or a magician.
9. Finally admit to the publisher that you can’t finish your submission in time and ask for an extension. Say you’ll do better next time. Which is a lie.
10. Concede to yourself that death is the only deadline that matters. Join a monastery, which works perfectly well until you come across the next monthly issue of Monastery Life and it’s calling for submissions.
Note: The opinions expressed by guest bloggers at the Submittable blog are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Submittable.
Yvonne ShiauYvonne Shiau is a staff writer at Reedsy, a curated marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers and marketers. Over 2,500 books have been produced via Reedsy since 2015.

Yvonne Shiau