DEADLINES FOR WRITERS: Why have them, How to set them, & How to keep them

Most all writers know about deadlines. Or at least we could benefit from learning about them. For those more seasoned writers out there already know the reason for deadlines. But those newbie writers out there, may need some thoughts from someone who is a few more steps down the road.

Why have them?

Bottom line, deadlines help writers produce work. As much as the creative process is unique, it can take a…unique amount of time. And for some…okay, for most writers, that can mean an unending amount of time. That is not because we are lazy. Well, some of may need some bum glue from time to time. But mostly it is because we are so intent on our art being perfect, and that goal is so difficult to attain, we would never be truly satisfied with a manuscript. We would always find things to tweak. A deadline pushes us to come to peace with a final draft and turn it in. Even if you are indie publishing, self-imposed deadlines are a good thing. Have them, use them, mark them down, and keep them.

“I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.” ~ Oscar Wilde

How to set them?

As with any goal, you have to be realistic. And you have to know yourself. Know how fast you write and how many hours you will have to write (realistically). Then you will need to figure how long it takes to self-edit and how many hours you will have to devote to that. I would give yourself a conservative estimate. Then mark that deadline down and make a covenant with yourself. Make small, measurable goals along the way. Daily, weekly, monthly…depends on you. Set up a reward system for reaching your goals and staying on target.

Susan May Warren has a wonderful book that will help you in this planning process and gives you an idea of how to calculate your hours to deadline: My Book Therapy Dream Keeper & Planner 2018. It is available on Amazon and that link is HERE.

How to keep them?

So, you have set your deadline realistically. And you have made small, measurable steps along the way to meet your goal, even rewarding yourself along the way. These are key things to keeping your goal – the consistent work day to day. Keeping on task, using that bum glue, staying committed. If you said to yourself, I can do 4 hours a week, then do 4 hours a week, even if you have to say “no” to something else. And there will be times you might have to. Because the truth is, we all have the same 24 hours a day (minus the 6-8 we spend sleeping, leaving us with actually only 16-18 hours a day). You choose how you spend them and what you accomplish in that time you have.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~ Jim Rohn

Will you be true to yourself and keep your goals?

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