19 February 2011

Writing Deadlines

Nothing worse than when a writer commits to a deadline and then is unable / unwilling to accomplish the feat. Well, that's a bit extreme but too often, I see what happens when writers fail to meet deadlines. 

Such a failure frustrates me personally because rather than move forward in our consulting sessions, even if the writer tells me how much research she accomplished or thought she gave or plotting she did, if she is not writing, we are standing still. 

Two, a writer's writing time is just that. Time to write. Not to brainstorm with others or to organize your space or to read internet news or play solitaire on your computer. Your writing time is time to write.

When breaking deadlines is chronic, though I can always cancel sessions until productivity improves, the writer's disrespect of herself costs her spirit (energy). 

Once or twice is to be expected but when a writer comes up with more excuses than writing, such an abuse signals a problem. 

There are two kinds of writing deadlines:

1) Deadlines imposed on you by another professional 

2) Deadlines you set for yourself 

Meeting the first kind of deadline is a critical if you wish to be a successfully published author. Book and magazine publishers, acquisition editors and critique groups expect you to be true to your word. Do that and you become a trusted  and reliable team member. 

Meeting the deadlines you set for yourself is great practice for when you are asked to keep a deadline for someone else. Also, meeting the deadlines you set for yourself is a personal message that you think enough of yourself to do what you commit to do and that you are able to count on yourself. 

Be realistic when you commit to a deadline with others and with yourself. 

Breakdown the total number of scenes or chapters or words you need to write overall 
Divide by the number of writing days you have between now and the deadline
For every working day, schedule how much productivity is required for ultimate success

Show yourself and the muse that you are to be trusted. 

Only make promises to yourself you know you can keep. 

Show up for yourself. 

Live up to your commitment and write.

Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? is playing on my YouTube channel. Currently, there are 21 Steps. Step 22 goes up later this weekend. A directory of the program is to your right. Each link takes you to a video that explains that particular writing concept. 

Benefits of watching the Plot Series:

1) Become a better writer 
2) Play along on The Santa Cruz Traveling Mystery Tour and win a free plot consultation with me