Deadlines Are Your Friend

"Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes. make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art." Neil Gaiman

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes. make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” Neil Gaiman

Today I want to talk about deadlines and how they are your friend. Or would that be friends?

The power of this November during Nanowrimo lies in that it’s a deadline, and a collective one at that. Powerful stuff.

For new writers, it’s a great training ground to push yourself.

For more experienced writers, Nanowrimo is a great container to write in a collective space.

I’ve discovered in talking with hundreds of writers that many thrive on deadlines, but are often embarrassed about that or think there’s something wrong with them, and feel shame that they’re so last minute about their projects.

But what if you’re just motivated by deadlines?

What if deadlines were your friends?

I’ll stick with the word “deadline” since I’m neutral to it.

If the word “deadlines” tweaks you out, choose another one. Here’s a few to choose from:

  • Finish line
  • End point
  • Limit
  • Target Date
  • Zero Hour

Some ways to make deadlines work for you — whether or not you like Nanowrimo:

1. Decide upon a writing project you’re passionate about.

2. Clarify how much writing you can do in one sitting and how many writing sessions you can do per day.

Example: Perhaps you can write in 20-minute blocks, four times a day. I actually did that today in the space of an hour and twenty minutes.

Be reasonable about your daily/regular writing amount and stay within your limits. You’ll build your capacity to write more and for longer with time. Let the growth come from showing up regularly for your writing and your natural ability to challenge yourself.

3. Create weekly goals, and monthly goals, and be flexible how you achieve those goals.

There is no rule that says you have to write at the same time every day. Honor your creative flow; show up for your work; and face the fear; make that fear your ally in your courageous endeavor of writing a novel.

4. Stay focused on your daily writing sessions.

That’s it.

Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week.

Stay focused on the now.

What is your relationship with deadlines? How are they working for you? Or not working for you?

Comment below and let me know!


Ask us your questions about writing, publishing, + marketing your fiction at...

Ask us your questions about writing, publishing, + marketing your fiction at #askaWritingCoach with Beth Barany and Catharine Bramkamp

I’m a writing coach and book midwife, and help novelists as a teacher and speaker. Weekly, I run love chats to give authors on-the-spot coaching. Join me and my guest, Catharine Bramkamp, this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2pm PT/5pm ET and ask your questions. We’ll also chat about finishing your Nanowrimo novel.

Click here to subscribe to today’s chat and stay connected for future chats. Or watch live on Blab.

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