Deadlines and me

In my freelance work, deadlines are a fact of life. Every project comes with one, and I know exactly how much time I have to complete the work.

For that reason, I’ve always liked themed anthologies and contests: I know how much time I have to write the story and, generally, how long it should be. NaNoWriMo also comes with a very specific, built-in deadline, and I’ve participated every year since 2003. Blogging deadlines work for me, too — my Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour post on the second of every month, and the A to Z Blog Challenge.

Do you notice something that all of these have in common? They’re externally created. When I read Alex’s post yesterday (Deadlines? Deadlines? What are deadlines?), I agreed totally. Self-imposed deadlines are a pain in the neck, and there are no consequences to letting them slip.

What I’m finding useful this year, though, is combining self-imposed deadlines with external expectations. I’ve promised to have something new up for sale every month, and because I know people are waiting (even if it is just a handful of people right now), I make sure I get something done. Note the generic “something” here — that’s key. I’m not committing myself to any particular story or novel getting done and posted in a given month. Eventually, I’ll probably have to do that as I build an audience and they expect reliability. Right now, it’s just focus on getting things done and building that audience.

What do you find helpful to meet your goals, writing or otherwise?

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Deadlines: Love’em or hate’em?”– May’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

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  1. External deadlines do help, for sure. But I try to set real deadlines and I really make an effort to stick to them. If I go way over, the guilt does me in, so it sort of works!

    • Yay! Glad the deadlines work for you. 🙂

      I spent a big chunk of last year dealing with guilt because I hadn’t managed to meet a self-imposed deadline. Primarily what it did was prevent me from working on anything else, even though I still wasn’t working on that novel.

  2. I think self imposed deadlines are a must for writers!
    Happy weekend!

    • I’m glad they work for you! I’m not big on saying anything is a “must” other than writing. We all have different processes. 🙂

      Have a great weekend, and thanks for commenting!

  3. I think I would be more satisfied with my writing progress if I could manage to formulate some sort of deadline or target date that I could believe in. But my estimates are usually so far off target that I find myself ignoring them before I’ve even really started, assuming that this set of dates is as unreliable as the others.

  4. Making the rounds after the A to Z Challenge to say hello! I’m not good at self-imposed deadlines. : (


    • Hi, Susanne, and welcome! Do you just work without deadlines, then?

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  5. I do better with external deadlines as well. It took Rhonda giving me a hard and fast deadline for the guest blog until I actually got it finished. 😛 But I’m getting better with self-imposed deadlines. It’s harder, and some of it is laziness, I think and a bit of ambivalence. You know?

    • And maybe the feeling that no one else will care if you let it slip? That’s certainly part of it for me. I’m better at discipline than self-discipline. 😛

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Chris!

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