The other day a rather sad jest occurred to me: What’s the difference between a deadline and the Loch Ness Monster? Nobody believes in deadlines.
It’s sad because I have a definite deadline for advertising and editorial content on this paper. My deadline for each issue of The Syncopated Times is actually pretty accommodating. Because I go to press around the twenty-first of the each month prior to the issue date, I ask that all material be submitted by the tenth. That allows ten days for timely material to accumulate so that the paper doesn’t read like a back issue, while I have ample time to lay out ads and articles without the eleventh-hour agita of trying to fill huge blank spaces.
That being said, I have been known to add news items and even display ads until the day before publication. Last month I took on a last-minute editing job that was as exhilarating as it was harrowing. I really don’t like cutting it that close. Sometimes, I get so caught up in my frantic determination to obliterate white space that I haven’t time for decent proofreading, and egregious (to me) goofs and typos get through.
I do like the paper to be timely, and if something of due importance occurs near press time I’m happy to be able to include it. I realize that I’m competing with the internet, where everything can be reported instantaneously—whether it’s true or not. My advantage is that in publishing a paper at a set time every month, I have the opportunity—and the obligation—to get it right. It’s more difficult for me to do so if submissions drift in at any old time of the month.
Believe this: I need your ads and stories by the tenth. Deadlines are real, and that’s mine.