Writing to Deadlines
Let’s take a peek at the cogs inside the machine and talk about why I write and how I write on Behind the Scenes Sunday! Today I’d like to talk about something that almost all professional writers have to learn to do: writing to deadlines!
Whether your under contract or freelancing, people are going to want to know (and will need to know) when they can expect your work to be completed. As a hybrid author, learning to work to deadlines has been a big learning curve for me. When I’m self-publishing my work, the only timeline I’m working from is my own. The only person who is affected if I get a bit behind in my work is me. But when you’re work is being published by a small press, a journal, or the big five, your work is part of a vast machine, and if you don’t get it in by the appointed time, the consequences for others (and yourself) are very real!
Talk about pressure!
But it doesn’t have to drive you crazy. What it comes down to is being realistic about the rate at which you work, being disciplined about doing that work, and planning for things to go wrong.
- Be realistic about the rate at which you work. How many words do you actually write a day? Don’t say you can finish a 70k book in a month if you struggle to write more than five hundred words a day! You will make yourself miserable AND you will miss your deadline. There’s nothing wrong with writing five hundred words a day — you just have to plan accordingly.
- Be disciplined about doing the work. Remember, there are real consequences to missing these deadlines. Life happens (and we’ll talk about that in the next list item) and sometimes being late is unavoidable. But you should never be late because you simply didn’t have the self-control to do the work you said you were going to do.
- Plan for things to go wrong. You will get sick. You will feel like not working some days. You’re car will break down. Things will come up to get in the way of you and completing your deadline. So plan in cushion time to your deadline. Never schedule your work so tight that there is no room for things to go wrong.
If you’re interested in seeing what it looks like when a writing deadline is met successfully, I have great news: Hungry is the Night is now available for preorder on all major ebook platforms! Visit the link here to order your copy in advance and, if you send a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, I will send you back an exclusive excerpt of the book! Three full chapters of wolfy goodness for you to enjoy!