Deadlines…the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Folks ask me constantly. “How do you make yourself sit down and write all those books?” I say, in all honesty, “Three words. Legally binding contracts.” Yep, right in the middle of all that legal mumbo jumbo in the contract is a deadline. The term “deadline” as a matter of fact, is thought to have originated in Civil War prison camps where real or imaginary lines were drawn. Cross them, and it was lights out.

Deadlines are good because they keep the endless procrastination at bay. The problem I have found is that to be successful in this business, you need to have multiple deadlines (both self imposed and contractual ones) working at one time. If you write one book at a time, finish it, then start on the proposal for the next one, there will be too much of a time lag between projects. It’s just not feasible. For example, I have a full manuscript due to my publisher on Feb. 15th. I also have a self assigned deadline to have the next proposal (three chapters and a synopsis) more or less done at that same time so I can have that ready to submit while that full manuscript goes through the editing pipeline.  Now multiply that by three different publishers (at the moment, I’m writing for Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House) and you see why DEADline is an apt description. I try to think of it this way. Each book is a blessing, and an opportunity, even if it sometimes doesn’t feel that way.

So what about you? Everyone has deadlines of some sort or another. Are yours imposed by a boss or yourself? How do you motivate yourself to meet your deadlines? Giving away a VISA gift card, a signed book and a February surprise this month.

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shanda on February 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I’m a procrastinator. I need deadlines. Usually, all my deadlines are self-imposed. I play games . . . 1000 words in an hour or no Castle. Or one finished scene before you can eat–like a kid not stepping on sidewalk cracks, huh?
    When the deadlines come from others, I think I try harder. I should probably find committed others to be writing partners for accountability. I might try that tomorrow . . .
    : )

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  2. My deadlines are self-imposed. I have to admit I am dilatory at times, but I put reminders everywhere (smartphone, written notes, etc.) to motivate me to meet them. When I get tired of seeing all of those reminders continually, I complete my tasks.

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  3. Posted by Samantha B on February 3, 2015 at 1:45 am

    I have to admit I am a professional procrastinator 😛
    I’m still in school so I have a lot of deadlines for multiple assignments, but I really need to impose more deadlines upon myself. (I just seem to never respect them). The only deadlines I am able to follow through with are the ones that don’t just involve me. For example, if we make a deadline as a team for a project, my partners are sure I will have my part done by then and I never get an assignment in late.
    In the meantime though, I spend a lot of time on the internet (not doing homework) and reading and watching tv and doing a whole lot of things I shouldn’t be doing before I finish my homework 😉

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  4. I am very bad with deadlines in my personal life. For work, my deadlines are in a range of a few days so if something happens I can put it off for a day to two.

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  5. Deadlines are stressful for sure, but necessary. Otherwise it’s so easy to drift along doing the Scarlett O’Hara thing, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

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  6. Wow!! Your deadlines sound both exhilarating and stressful! In the midst of rewriting & editing the draft of my manuscript I have a self imposed deadline. Along with that, I am taking online college classes and am faced with those deadlines. Then add some children into the mix, with their school deadlines and I can’t find any white on my calendar!!!! 🙂 As I hope to be a novelist, this post was a glimpse into what that life might look like for me, and I must say, I was excited!!! Best of luck on your work & getting it all done!! 🙂

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