Missing an important writing deadline is every writer’s worst nightmare. Here is how you can prepare for and handle the situation if it arises.

If you miss a writing deadline, use these tips to handle the situation with ease.
If you miss a writing deadline, use these tips to handle the situation with ease.
Image by TaniaRose from Pixabay

Missing a big writing deadline can cause writer’s an extreme amount of stress and lead to many restless nights. For some, it can even put their writing career or job in jeopardy. While there is no one size fits all approach for handling a missed deadline, these tips will help you own your mistakes, ask for an extension, and better prepare for your next writing deadline.

Don’t Panic, Ask for an Extension

Your immediate response to missing a huge writing deadline will probably be to panic, freak out, or lose complete control of your emotions. That’s perfectly normally. However, if you approach the situation from a rational frame of mind, you’ll fair much better in owning this shortcoming and asking for an extension. Missing a writing deadline and having to ask for an extension doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Life happens and everyone falls behind at one point or another. What matters is how you come back from missing a writing deadline.

When you ask for an extension, this isn’t the time to have a pity party, make up excuses, or complain that the deadline wasn’t fair. It’s a time for you to be humble, own the fact that you missed an important deadline, and figure out a way to progress forward with your writing project. While it may be up to your boss, editor, or the publishing company to set a new writing deadline, have an extension date in mind just in case. This way, if they ask when you think you can have your writing project by, you’re prepared.

Get Busy on Your Extension and Reflect on Your Missed Writing Deadline

You miss your writing deadline. You get an extension and finish your project. Now, you need to reflect on why you missed the deadline.
You miss your writing deadline. You get an extension and finish your project. Now, you need to reflect on why you missed the deadline.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The very second that you are (hopefully!) granted a writing extension and a new writing deadline, it’s game on. You need to start strong so you don’t miss this writing deadline and can produce a piece of writing that you can be proud of. Don’t rush yourself, but don’t slack off either. Find a balance and work hard to get your writing done on time or before your writing extension is up. While many people will grant one extension here and there, they aren’t usually so keen to grant a second writing extension following another missed deadline.

Once your project is done and submitted on time under your writing extension, it’s time to reflect on what led you to miss the original deadline. Likely, it was a combination of different factors. However, you need to take everything into account so you can avoid missing writing deadlines. Your writing career and reputation both depend on your being able to meet deadlines regularly. Use this mishap as an opportunity to learn a lesson in preparing for future writing deadlines.

Prepare For Your Next Deadline

After missing an important writing deadline, some writers may felt anxious about the next big deadline. If that’s you, you’re not alone. Missing a writing deadline can happen to anyone, especially if they’ve made a habit of missing deadlines in the past. But that will not be you! You will learn from your mistake and do better to prepare for your next deadline. Because you cannot count on people always being understanding and throwing out extensions to every writer who asks for one.

Since you’ve already tested where you went wrong with your last writing deadline, you should be ready to tackle the next one full force. Strive to finish your next writing project well before your next writing deadline. Break your writing project up into small manageable tasks and set miniature deadlines for each chunk of your writing project. This will help make the entire writing process seem much easier and ensure you do not miss another writing deadline.


Missing a writing deadline can happen to anyone. How you react when you miss a deadline and ask for an extension are key factors in recovering from a missed deadline. Proper preparation will ensure you don’t have to ask for an extension on future projects.