There are some days I’m quite sure the energizer bunny and my children are sipping the same Kool-Aid. Seriously, nothing like a little bit of sugar and a fun event to turn normal, wonderful children into ping pong balls.
As much as we pull our hair out with everyone else’s caffeine or sugar induced hyperactivity, isn’t it the same thing we do sometimes. Trying to meet the next deadline or get ready for a big conference, we guzzle caffeine and burn the midnight oil, hoping not to wake up with our head on our keyboard and drool on our mouse pads.
Whether you have writing deadlines right now or not, it is helpful to prepare yourself for the times when you do. My agent Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary did a fabulous blog on managing writing time and Rachelle Gardner also an Agent of Books & Such Literary did an article on Writing For Deadlines recently as well.
5 Tips To Prepare Yourself For Writing Deadlines:
*Set deadlines for yourself. Before you have an agent or contract of any kind, you should begin setting personal deadlines.
*Chart Your Writing Rhythms. Once you have set a deadline, chart your progress toward that deadline. Start with a one week deadline and then move to two weeks, etc. This will allow you to see when you write the most, how many words you write and what seems to be a reasonable working schedule for you. Your chart might look something like this:
Week 1: Goal is 8,000 words. Average Would Be = 1, 143 words a day
|Days of the Week||Time of Day/ Word Count||Time of Day/ Word Count||Time of Day/
|Total Words For The Day|
|Morning 8-10 /
|Afternoon 1-3 /
1, 000 Words
|Evening 8-10 / 500 words|| 2,300 Words
(Best Mid Day)
Keep track of this chart a few times escalating the amount of time and adjusting the goal to what seems to fit your writing rhythm. Career Authors cannot always be on a caffeine induced writing spree to meet deadlines.
Every year you should go back and do this exercise at least once to figure out if your writing rhythms have changed.
*Set Reasonable Goals. Once you have used the chart to help you determine what you are capable of, set reasonable goals to reach deadlines. Map out how many words you’d need to complete a day. Add 100 extra words each day for a challenge and to give you a free fall net.
*Work ahead. Sometimes we set ourselves up for crazy deadlines because we let ourselves get behind in our goals. If possible, stay at least one week ahead of your goals. Then if things come up, you will have some buffer time in there to compensate for it.
*Communicate With Your Agent. It is so important to meet every deadline, but if you are running seriously behind it is better to tell your agent early on, then wait until last minute. Have I mentioned you should endeavor to NEVER MISS A DEADLINE!
What are somethings that you do to help prepare for deadlines writing or otherwise?