Some people hate deadlines, and some people love them. I wouldn’t say I love them, but I would say they help me get things accomplished. That’s why I often claim, “Deadlines are my friends.”
As a journalist and author, I’ve had to meet deadlines for magazines, newspapers and publishers. I’ve also had to meet deadlines for my clients. In ever case, those deadlines forced me to get the work done—and to do so on time.
I guess you could say the lit a fire under me. Some writers might say the deadline puts the fire right out.
Here’s the thing. When you know you must get something done, or when you have committed to it, inevitably you will. That’s why every goal-setting course or program tells you to specify when you will achieve your goal. You must write down the exact date.
That’s also why accountability partners and coaches are so helpful. You tell your goals and your deadlines. Then you have someone besides yourself who knows if you have kept that commitment.
In the writing world, thousands of writers opt for deadlines each year in November when they join National Novel Writing Month and National Nonfiction Writing Month to complete a book in just 30 days. Right now, bloggers and writers are blogging books in 30 days during National Book Blogging Month. Why? Because the push to complete their project by that deadline makes them get something done in a short period of time, something that normally might take months, if not years, to complete. These writers finish the first draft of a manuscript in just a month.
Nonfiction Writing Prompt #18: Set a Deadline and Meet It
To complete this writing prompt, set a deadline for a writing project. Then meet that deadline. Period.
Sounds pretty simple. And, truly, it is.
You don’t need to pick your magnum opus. You can write a short book (maybe 5,000-25,000 words) in a month, for example, which is what those participating in National Book Blogging Month are doing. Or you can write an article or an essay in two weeks. Or you can write a blog post in a day.
Just pick a project, set a deadline, and meet it.
Then rinse and repeat.
Are deadlines your friend? Do they help you accomplish your writing goals?
For more information on how to create nonfiction book ideas that are marketable and that support your writing goals, join the NFWU. When you do, you’ll receive this month’s Nonfiction Writers’ University (NFWU) homework assignment, which contains more exercises and information on this topic. Plus, you’ll have access to the growing archive of past homework assignments and NFWU teleseminars as well as some introductory gifts worth more than the membership! Join here at the low introductory rate!
Next month NFWU teleseminar takes place on April 16 at 3 p.m. PT and will feature Social Media Expert Frances Caballo, who will teach members “How Writers Can Use Social Media Easily and Effectively.” Learn more about the event here. (Members get recordings of the events, access to the forum, bonus products, and more…) Learn about the benefits of membership when you click here.
Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan | freedigitalphotos.net
Julie Luek says
Nina, I needed this reminder. Like you, my background is in writing for magazines, where a deadline, word count, and content factors pushed me towards production. Left to my own devices, however, and I let emotional factors push me around, mostly towards procrastination. I need to impose deadlines, word counts–some kind of daily measurement– on myself again.
Leslie G. Nelson says
Nina, I couldn’t agree more.
Awhile back, I decided that my book was not progressing as it should be, and I needed to give myself a push but making a deadline. I decided to finish it as a birthday present to myself.
Then I made a list of things I needed to do to accomplish that. As a self-publisher, there is a lot involved (including saving up the money for the editor!)
It worked though! This month is my birthday, and the book is with my editor in the final editing stages. I couldn’t be happier. If I hadn’t set a deadline, I would likely still be poking along with the writing portion, rather than thinking about marketing.
Nina Amir says
Good for you, Leslie! Deadlines work…and you are so much closer to “Done” because you set one. Congratulations!