Caffeine Don’t Fail Me Now – 5 Tips To Prepare Yourself For Writing Deadlines

There is just something about that energizer bunny that ticks me off. You know, the incessant pounding on the drum with no need to take a break.

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/

Word Count

Total Words For The Day


Morning 8-10 /

800 words

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?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “Caffeine Don’t Fail Me Now – 5 Tips To Prepare Yourself For Writing Deadlines

  1. jeannemt says:

    I like your chart idea! 🙂 I’m going to have to try that.

    In writing and in life, I’m learning that working ahead helps me meet deadlines more easily. Like you, I set goals, and this helps me stay motivated to beat my deadlines (whether it’s packing for a trip, or finishing my ms).

    Thanks for your great tips, Michelle

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    You’re welcome, Jeanne. The chart is a great tool, hope it works well for you.

  3. I love your chart! Will have to try that when I get back home.

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