Design Your Biz: Uh Oh, Can't Make a Deadline!

So, you got your design accepted to a magazine. Yay! But now you can't make the deadline. Uh oh. What do you do?
Missing a Deadline as a Knitwear Designer

Sometimes, it happens, you miss a deadline. It's very rare this happens to me, but it has happened.  One time it was my book deadline for Cozy Stash-Busting Knits - my dad passed away. Another time it was a pattern for a yarn company - I wrote down the wrong due date in my planner. Whether you have a good excuse (death in the family) or a bad excuse (I apparently can't read/transcribe correctly), missing a deadline it never feels good. 

The best thing you can do in this situation, is contact the company as soon as you realize that you are going to miss the deadline. It's better to be upfront and honest instead of saying nothing and waiting to see what happens. In my case with the yarn company, as soon as I realized my error, I apologized and admitted my mistake, and they were ok with me sending in my pattern about a week later (which was what was written in my planner). I've worked with them since then, it didn't burn the bridge.

Just like I try to build in a little extra time to get things done a little before the due date, many companies have also built in a little extra time for the patterns to get to them. This does not mean that you can always be late though! It just means if you are apologetic and admit your error, they might be OK with you turning it in slightly late just this once.

To avoid these situations completely, it try your best to plan your work around your deadlines and what you can handle. For example, right now, I'm working on another book (yay!). While I've seen lots of good submission calls for magazines and yarn companies coming into my inbox, I know that right now I can't submit to all of them. Here and there I can squeeze something in, but if I was submitting to all the things like I do when I'm not working on a book, I know that I would be in a real jam rather quickly. I'm finally learning what kind of workload I can take on, and I do my best not to overload it. That way I'm not missing deadlines!

Also, and I've talked about it before - if you do get accepted for a magazine or something and you receive the contract and know that deadline won't work for you, you can sometimes negotiate it. I've successfully negotiated a deadline getting moved back a week with no problem. Being upfront is always best!

Are you a designer who missed a deadline? How did you handle it? I'd love to hear about your experience - it's nice to know that I'm not alone in having missed a deadline. :)

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