I received my 33rd acceptance of the year earlier today, this time for an article I wrote on assignment for a gardening magazine.
Although the finished piece turned out pretty good, it was a struggle to get to a final draft. An abundance of other work caused me to get a late start, the woman I was to interview backed out, and I lost a couple of days reaching her suggested replacement. Then I used a new recorder and learned too late that the tape is almost unusable. I struggled out a rough draft using my handwritten notes, the few things I could hear on the tape, and other information I had gathered beore the interview. When I contacted the interviewee with follow-up questions, she was out of town for a week. Sigh.
I finally finished the article and e-mailed it to the editor last night, 20 days after my original deadline.
I think this is the first deadline I've missed in a bazillion years. I'm lucky it was a soft deadline, not a hard deadline, and that I've worked with the editor enough to know I had flexibility.
What have I learned? Take better notes in case the recorder fails. Test new recorders before using them for important interviews. And always keep your editor informed of delays.