So you went the indie route. Great! Among other things, it means no agent breathing down your neck to finish by your publishing deadline. Fantastic, right? WRONG!
How do traditional published authors pump out so many books so quickly? They have strict deadlines. But they also have someone on their back making sure that deadline stays put. As indies, we don’t have that. Unless you have a writing partner and you whip each other into shape. But writers are generally solitary creatures. And unless you are co-authoring a book, then you write alone. So, who is there to get on your back?
You know the answer. YOU! *dang it!*
Along with being writer, publisher, cover-designer, editor, public relations and marketing (with the help of a select few: namely cover designer and editor), you are now your own lit agent. Which means you have to set hard deadlines for yourself.
“But is it really necessary?” you may ask? No. It isn’t. Unless you want to publish your book, or multiple books.
Take it from me, no deadline=no book. It was only when I said “Alright, Shelby. This first draft will be finished by the end of this month” did I actually push myself. And guess what? That draft was finished by the deadline. But if I didn’t set that deadline, it wouldn’t have happened. It would have come after dishes, after working out, after painting my nails, after grocery shopping, etc. It would never have been a priority. But with a deadline, I treated it like homework. It was worked every day, more if I skipped a previous day or anticipated being busy the next day.
Here are my Top 3 Reasons to Set a Writing Deadline:
1. Ensures consistent writing. Without a deadline, I would go days, weeks, months without writing. It would be pushed to the back burner, fall off the to-do list and plain forgotten. It wasn’t valued. By setting a deadline, especially if it’s a challenging one, I was forced to make time to write. Every day. Resulting in more consistent writing. I don’t know about you, but my writing style changes from year to year, and if it doesn’t change gradually, your novel is going to look like it’s been written by two different people. You can’t let a massive amount of time pass between starting and finishing. Get it done and be consistent.
2. Pushes yourself. Write an entire draft in 1 month. Sound impossible? How do you know until you try? Maybe you only think writing a novel takes years and years. Newsflash: most books are written in a year. Some in even less time! My first book was done over 3 years! 3 years! That’s insane! My writing was inconsistent, I kept forgetting about it, and I became discouraged that it was taking so long. If you don’t push yourself, it WILL take forever. Setting a deadline requires you to test your limits, push yourself and see what you truly are capable of. It’s like working out (or so I’ve heard). If you’re like me and only do a few situps a month, odds are you’ll feel that getting in shape is impossible! But if you do five a day one week, then push yourself to ten a day the next week, and so on and so forth, guess what? You’re going to learn you are quite capable of getting in shape and in less time. So set a deadline you may think is impossible. Then try? Who knows? I myself discovered I can write a new draft in two to three weeks. So my 3 year timeline for book one is down to about 1 now. Because I pushed myself.
3. Results. You want to see your book published right? You want to get on to the next story in your head? You want to shove the book at all your relatives who smiled politely when you told them you were a writer with no books published? Then you have to buckle down. Deadlines produce results. Period.
I know it sucks. I know it’s going to be hard. But it doesn’t have to be insane. Everyone is busy. Everyone. Set a deadline like…you’ll finish writing this chapter by the end of the week. Perhaps that would have happened even without the deadline. But guess what? With the deadline, it ensures it will. And you can be proud of yourself for meeting your goal. Any deadline is better than no deadline at all. Push yourself. You might be surprised.
What deadlines do you set for yourself? What deadlines are you going to set? Let me know!