A deadline's a wonderful thing – both for the one setting it and for the one held to it.
An editor setting a deadline guarantees wants to have a manuscript in hand in time to get it ready for publication, or when a writer misses the deadline, in time to make a substitution.
A writer given a deadline has an incentive to be productive, and the assurance that the editor cannot subject him to endless revisions.
An editor who habitually extends deadlines for tardy writers does no favors. It only makes the outcome more difficult by demonstrating that writer guidelines need not be taken seriously, thereby encouraging contributors to procrastinate.
Writers and editors aren't the only ones with deadlines. There are deadlines in every profession and trade. When reasonably established and conscientiously followed, life runs more smoothly for all involved.
Some people don't get deadlines. Brent Coon is one of them. Either he doesn't understand the need for them, doesn't take them seriously, or doesn't consider them applicable to himself.
We can picture Brent as a student, scribbling answers on a test after the bell has rung and all his classmates already have handed in their papers and filed out of the room.
We can picture him as a party animal showing up an hour late for the happy hour at his favorite bar and expecting to take advantage of the 2-for-1 deal on drinks.
We can picture him as a criminal defense attorney representing a client on death row and requesting a stay of execution a day late.
Recently, Brent asked a federal judge to extend the BP oil spill settlement deadline to give him and his clients still more time to think about whether they want to opt out or not.
The case has been going on for five years. It's three years since preliminary approval of the settlement. Enough already. Time's up, Brent. The deadline has passed.