Tight Scheduling, or the Benefit of Having a Deadline

The only way to be sure you’ll get anything done is to have a plan to do it.

This applies in life as much as it does in editing, but I know more about the latter, so I’ll talk about that.

The weekend is when I do most of my heavy-lifting as an EIC, though we’re heading into our “hell week” for the journal, and every day we’re there means getting stuff done. I’ll go over my typical editing plan: Thursday nights we have our weekly meetings for the journal, and over the past two, we were able to get through the bulk of our poetry editing—which was also the bulk of all of our lit submissions anyway, so having most of it done feels really nice. I wanted us to be out before 8PM this past week (as I always want but don’t always succeed in doing), and we were able to because we knew which poems we needed to do. That said, if there are edits that some people volunteered to make and then didn’t, I’ll be kind of miffed because we’re on a tight schedule, and we don’t have time to go back.

Thursdays are my worst days, but anyway, we got out before we were there all night, which is always the goal. Fridays are the days I’d write an article for The Odyssey if I haven’t already done it earlier in the week. If I’m not doing anything else that night, I try to go through and make sure there aren’t major edits that need to be done on other submitted articles, and I keep track of who’s getting their articles in on time. Saturdays are the days that I’ll mark articles as EIC Edited, and it can be intermittent throughout the day—edits will come in at different times. As long as everything is good by Sunday at noon the latest, I’m happy. Ideally, everything is published over the next few days.

So my schedule (at least as a writer/editor) goes from Thursdays through Sunday mornings. I make a lot of to-do lists, and I send a lot of emails. When things are done on time, I’m happy. Deadlines are actually a lot nicer for me than having no time limit at all.

This week we’ll be meeting every day for the journal from (for lit) 3PM to 8PM. We need to be copy editing by the end of the day Wednesday, which is why it was so important for us to get the majority of the poetry done before this week. Prose takes longer to edit by nature, which is something you should always be aware of if you’re going to be editing anything, and things will take even longer to edit if you’re in a group doing line-by-line edits of it, especially if the members of the group are opinionated. It’s alright.

Some things I have to remind myself of going into this week include triaging and patience. Triaging, because we need to prioritize and if there’s a story that’s six pages, we can’t leave design in the lurch without having it done (as opposed to a poem that won’t take as long and won’t be as long), and patience because, well. Whenever you’re doing anything you need to be patient. I’m not super sick this year (so far) like I was last year, which means maybe the allergy medication I’ve been taking actually is paying off, so I’ll be at full attention and readiness to get things done. I don’t want to stay past 8PM if we don’t have to, but we need to be copy editing pages printed by our design team by Wednesday. We probably also want to have anything else going into the journal ready by then, too, as well as probably a note/letter from the editors, finalizing nicknames, and all that.

Since we want the journal to be going to print early, early April (if not sooner!), and besides this week only have two more meetings to make that happen, we need to finalize most things now. Knowing that makes things easier: again, when you have a deadline, you know how you need to plan things out. So if that means maybe one day we’re in until 10PM so we don’t have to pull an all-nighter in two weeks, I’ll take it.

My schedule for this week, then, looks something like this: teaching from 7:30AM to 2:30PM, zooming back to campus where I’ll be in my dorm room hopefully by 3PM and throwing a Campbell’s Soup-At-Hand in the microwave while changing my shoes into something I can sprint in. After, I’ll run across campus with my soup and my papers and land in the building that’s furthest from me so I can run a meeting until 8PM, hopefully no later. We’ll be out by the time we’re done with our line-by-line edits, finishing at least half of what’s left today and the rest tomorrow. There are a lot of “hopefully”s here. If I’m lucky, someone will mistake me for a Picard rather than the Kirk I am and offer to buy me tea since I can’t get it myself, though I probably won’t be picky about Earl Grey versus English breakfast by the time I need the caffeine.

Friday might be tough, but as long as I have my article on “Not Getting a Spring Break Like, Ever” finished before midnight, I’ll be fine.

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Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

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