Writing under the influence of deadlines and pressure is a fact of life for most authors. This applies whether or not they’re self or traditionally published, although traditionally published authors tend to have more deadlines than self-published authors.
Deadlines are something you’ll have to get used to, especially if you’re working with a publicity company, an editor, or any business relying on you to get your job done on time. They’re expecting you to do your work so they can plan their schedules around you.
Handling the pressure of deadlines is part time management, part stress management, and part hard work. If you want to succeed at your deadlines, there are a few habits you’ll need to make and a few you’ll probably need to break.
When you have a deadline, the first thing many people do is something else. It can be watch a favorite television show, decide the bathroom needs scrubbed right this instant, or some other form of procrastination. Working on a deadline can be stressful, especially when the things needing worked on are boring.
The first thing you can do to help make certain that you have no problems with deadlines is to kill your procrastination habit. Reward yourself with a television show, a movie, or something fun after you’ve reached your daily minimum.
Rewards are an excellent motivation for a lot of people. Find a way to reward yourself when you make your deadlines. It’s a lot of hard work meeting a writing deadline. This only works if you resist the urge to reward yourself early.
Only reward yourself for successfully reaching milestones.
Break your project up into Milestones
As I mentioned in the Reward Yourself section, milestones are a critical part of any large deadline. They serve as a place to mark your progress, and let you break your big project into smaller and more manageable ones.
After all, writing a novel in three months is a lot more intimidating than finish a chapter in two days.
Pick milestones that motivate you and are within the realm of the possible. If you pick unreasonable milestones, you will feel overwhelmed, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to meeting deadlines.
Give Yourself Extra Time
As someone who constantly battles deadlines, the most important thing I’ve learned about writing projects is to always expect work to take longer than I think it will take. I try to give myself at least 2-3 extra days per week of project. So, if a project should take me three weeks, I give myself four weeks. I set all of my goals and milestones anticipating three weeks, but I have a week of wiggle room when something goes wrong.
Something will ALWAYS go wrong
Expect it. Something will go wrong during a project. That chapter you thought was strong? It needs rewritten for a reason you didn’t anticipate. You thought your proofing work is good enough? Guess what, it probably isn’t. Give yourself extra time to plan around these inevitable roadblocks.
Don’t stress too much over it. It’s OK if something goes wrong – you gave yourself a little extra time to deal with it, if you’re planning your time and your milestones.
Be Courteous of Others
It may come as a surprise that part of the stress of deadlines is the sense of failure associated with the possibility of missing one. If a deadline is about to zip right past your head, talk to the people who are impacted by your deadline. Letting them know in advance lets them adjust their schedule accordingly. It’s polite, and it’ll be a huge weight off of your shoulders.
Be Kind to Yourself
Missing deadlines happens. Even the most responsible person you know has missed one in his or her life. A little guilt isn’t a bad thing, but don’t take it too hard. Chin up, face your missed deadline down, and finish the work as soon as you can.
Move on. Stress can do a lot of bad things to your health (and your ability to meet future deadlines) so accept that you missed it and try to do better next time.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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