Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Beauty of Deadlines - by Diana Ting Delosh

I'm always amazed at what I can accomplish with a deadline breathing down my neck. It doesn't matter if the deadline is a sale for a postcard printing, submission window, conference or a commission. The hard deadline forces me to find my zen mode, banish distractions, make decisions and finish. It forces me to produce.
Meditating Lady - © Diana Ting Delosh Ink, Watercolor, Digital

Currently I'm in the throes of prepping for the upcoming SCBWI NJ June Conference. I've got about 2 weeks+ to get things done on my list. As usual the list starts out ambitious and very long. Now that time is running out, the list is getting pared down. Rather than a portfolio of totally New Art it's down to new pieces judiciously mixed in with older pieces and picture book dummies are getting their final tweaks. The deadline forces me to get my butt in chair and not get up until that illustration is painted.  
Postcard Front: Odion Skunk - © Diana Ting Delosh,
cover art from my Skunk story PB Dummy.
I had actually picked this as a possibility for the Postcard weeks ago
- was just holding out for future illo.

Monday night, just hours before the 40% OFF Sale at Vistaprint ended at 11:59 pm PT, it was suddenly crystal clear, what illustrations to pick, card size and how many to order. All of which I was fuzzy on until 11:49 pm ET.
Postcard Back: Boy Meets Octopus - © Diana Ting Delosh
This illo was inked, painted, scanned & PSed the day I  uploaded the design
that morning, I decided my Conference Postcard
must have a kid on it and not more animals. So I just had to give it a go.
It is after all a conference  for the KID Lit & Art set.

No a deadline won't help you make the best choices but it forces you to make a choice. Sometimes that's the difference between finishing and still working on it. Trust me, finishing things feels very, very good. I keep an annual list of my finished work.

The beauty of a deadline is that it breaks you free of the endless revision cycle. The one that you got lost in when you decided to try your best not to send out crap. Of course you should always do your best but at some point you have to draw a line and say this is the very best I have right now and show, submit, whatever. If it's a personal project, you can always toss, redo and revise later... again and again.

Grab the caffeine and eye drops. Show angst and self-doubt the door. Time to go into hyper-speed and make that deadline.

twitter: @dtdelosh


  1. Diana, this post really hit home with me. I'm right there with you. With a background in BREAKING NEWS broadcast graphics, I live by the deadline. I can't wait to see your new work at the conference.

  2. Thanks Mike! Breaking News Graphics - Now that's a super speedy turn aroundy field.

  3. Great post Di! I love how you turn a perceived negative into a positive!

  4. Loved this post, Diana, and can totally relate. I have a bunch of items on my to-do before the NJ conference list. Time is ticking--yikes! I love the idea of keeping an annual accomplishment list!

    1. Thanks Virginia! Yes - I started doing the accomplishment list in 2015 and found it an antidote to when you feel like you never get anything done. See you at the NY SCBWI Conference!