Tips for Writers to set their Own Deadlines

Being a writer of any kind can be tough. There’s a lot that goes into it – far more than non-writers realize. Getting the writing down on paper is only half the battle for most of us. Then, there’s the concern of deadlines. It can be tough to set your own deadlines. Here are my top tips for setting your own deadlines:

Keep it Realistic

Know your own abilities and the speed at which you are able to produce content. Editing has to be taken into account and if you write creatively, there are more factors to consider.

When you set your own deadlines, it is paramount to keep the deadlines realistic! Don’t go setting a bunch of deadlines for yourself that you know you can’t keep. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to realize your own abilities. Always make sure that the deadlines you set for yourself are ones you can actually meet. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of frustration!


Break Down the Tasks

Deadlines don’t have to be just when the entire writing task is completely finished. Set deadlines for a first draft, a second draft and editing deadlines. I’ve found that by breaking up these tasks, I’m more productive. It’s also been a great way for me to get to know my strengths and weaknesses. I can pump out a first draft pretty quick but the editing process is where I slow way down.

Rewards & Consequences

Having a reward system in place for hitting those deadlines is going to be an excellent motivator for you to keep hitting them! It doesn’t have to be anything huge, either. For example, when I finish a larger work, (like the first draft of a novel or novella), I like to treat myself to a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I never drink it otherwise and it has been working in my rewards system. For smaller tasks, give yourself breaks or a quick treat.

On the flip side, you have to have consequences when you don’t hit the deadlines you’ve set for yourself. I like denying myself something I enjoy when I miss deadlines. Example: If I miss a deadline I’ve set for myself, no watching TV that day. Or, when I’ve missed really big deadlines in the past, I’ve cancelled weekend plans. (And, I freaking love my weekends so that always hits me pretty hard).

 

Use Tools that Work for YOU

You can be the most efficient writer in the world but if you’re using the wrong tools, you’re going to have decline in your productivity, (at some point). By tools, I don’t just mean the computer you type on either. You have to have a good place to write and the write ambiance to write your best.

Here are some examples of some writing tools that are going to help you meet those precious deadlines: 

  • Software used for Writing (Microsoft Word is what I use but I also have Evernote for notes & ideas).
  • A “Writing” Playlist (Yep, I literally have a playlist for everything and it has always boosted my productivity, in ALL things).
  • Reading Material (I read novels constantly and also am a frequent reader of Medium ) – The more you read, the better you write. We always want those words to flow.
  • A Notebook you Adore (Actually writing with your hand has a way of getting those really creative thoughts out there on paper).
  • Things that inspire (I like to keep photos, art and decor around me that keep me feeling inspired. Everyone should.)

Get Writing & Meeting those Deadlines!

We all work differently, especially writers. You have to find out what works for you. For me, writing deadlines down in my planner sort of “carves them in stone” for me and gives me that extra push to make sure I meet them.

Keep writing, nerds 🙂

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