You thought Deadline Dementia was just for published novelists didn't you?
When your "published in novel-length fiction" writing buddies groaned and muttered incoherently about editors, revisions, lack of sleep and so forth, you were quietly thinking ....
Yeah, well, I'd kill for your deadline.
I'm here to tell you that Deadline Dementia can and should be yours.
If you need help with effective goal setting find a methodology that speaks to you.
Check out :
ZenHabits on Really, Simple Goal Setting
"I believe in keeping your goals simple, and if you do that, goal-setting and goal-management doesn’t require software. In fact, you can do it with a single index card."
Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
"Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by the process itself…it is gradual. Ask yourself the simple question—what is most important to you in life? Making a list of values that you want to live by is, in and of itself, a small “win.” ...acknowledging these small victories gives you confidence that you are on the right path and allows you to take a deeper look at what your goals and purposes are. As you move forward, you are encouraged to go, even more specifically, into action planning and setting deadline dates by which you want to accomplish those things."
Brian Tracy, Author of Eat That Frog
"21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. According to the old saying, if you eat a live frog first thing each morning you'll have the satisfaction of knowing it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the day's most challenging and most prone to procrastination task, Eat That Frog shows readers how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize their time. This means not only getting more things done, but getting the right things done."
Once you have your goals set deadlines.
Time passes whether you finish a book or not.
"Consider this: If you write one page a day, you will produce a substantial novel in a year's time. The writer who turns out one book a year, year in and year out, is generally acknowledged to be quite prolific. And don't you figure you could produce one measly little page, even on a bad day? Even on a rotten day?"--Lawrence Block
Granted, today authors are expected to produce far more than one book a year. But if you aren't producing even one a year how are you going to write two...or three?
How fast can you write anyhow?
Entertain these real life (happened to me) scenarios:
- you get a request for a full from a contest on a manuscript that consists of three chapters
- your submitted full manuscript comes back with suggested revisions
- you get a phone call from an editor who wants the rest of your manuscript (its done but its rough)
If you don't set deadlines and track your writing pace how will you answer when your editor asks how long you need to turn your proposal in?
I'm a working writer. Not published in novel length fiction, but none-the-less I depend on my writing income to pay bills. So in addition to trying to break into the romance novel industry I sell my writing in other formats.
Often it is difficult to focus my time and energy on what can seem like an elusive dream (selling a book) when I can bring in a financial reward from short stories and blog posts.
What keeps me focused? Here 's are some ideas and thoughts that have inspired or encouraged me to create my own Deadline Dementia.
1. I love contests, because of the deadlines. For example: every year I must complete a new manuscript by the RWA Golden Heart deadline. I don't have to submit it but I have to have a first draft completed or nearly so.
2. Susan Mallery really inspires me. I highly recommend her workshop on writing productivity. It is based on figuring out many pages you write a day, and increasing by half a page every few weeks.
3. Years ago I heard Cindi Myers speak on how she plans her writing year based on how much income she needs. Cindy is another working writer who at that time was writing in many different formats. I recall her setting a writing goal for the new year (the dollar amount was what I currently make in my day job). She meets her goals by then strategizing what she needs to sell to bring home the bacon. Check out her web page where she has several excellent articles on setting writing goals.
4. I like to remember Nora Roberts thoughts on the writing muse:
“If you need to believe in the muse, let’s say, fine and dandy. Whatever works for you. But don’t tell me you can’t work today because the muse has left you. Go track down that fickle slut, drag her back, chain her to your keyboard, and GET TO WORK.”
"I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. It's my job to sit down and figure out what to write. I think if you wait for 'the muse' you may wait a very long time."
5. My Seeker friends can tell you about what I lovingly refer to as "jammy days". These are my own personal Deadline Dementia days. I like to plan several back-to-back, depending on my job schedule. The following are forbidden: showering, cooking, cleaning, leaving the house, watching TV, or talking on the phone.
I run all errands ahead of time and stock the cupboards with necessary provisions. This is not unlike a book-in-a-week scenario or the basics of NaNoWriMo.
So my fellow writers, it's official. Deadline Dementia is for everyone.
If you haven't, I challenge you to create your own Deadline Dementia and if you have share your insights here in Seekerville.