Monday, June 6, 2011

Deadlines - Start Working With Them BEFORE You Are Published

Honestly, I do believe deadlines, or I should say, working with deadlines is one of the key reasons why many writers fail in this business. They simply cannot keep up with the constant pressure of having to produce on someone else's time line. Unfortunately, deadlines are a must.

Think about it. Having your book in on time is not just for one person. You have many other departments that require your book to pass through their hands. Your editor has to really look it over one more time (along with all of her other authors). But more importantly, you have readers. Keeping your name out there on the book shelves is one of the biggest keys to success. It's all about name recognition and you simply cannot do that with only one book.

Successful writers have been using these deadlines during their entire writing career. They used deadlines religiously during their unpublished life. The question is, are you? A writers simply cannot sit around and wait for someone to create a deadline to have something produced. It takes a personal discipline to say, "I will have X project finished by this date." Even more so, the disciplined writer will work with smaller benchmarks during the writing process:
  • I will have the proposal sent to X by this date.
  • I will have the first three chapters sent to CP by this date
  • I will have the first half ready for editing by this date.
...and so on...

There are no "...but's..." with deadlines.

So, if you haven't started yet, start today. Create those deadlines and stick to it.



  1. Enjoyed this post, Scott. Great reminder. This is important for even the very beginning reader to follow. If they are just thinking about writing "someday" without a deadline, they don't have a goal at all. When I started, I created a chronological spreadsheet of places I wanted to submit to that kept me on track (the listing eventually grew to more than I could ever write, so I share it with my newsletter subscribers now, every month). This way, even if I didn't have to answer to "somebody" (besides myself) yet, I still had to answer to "something" (my own calendar).

  2. Great post. My years at a daily newspaper taught me to respect deadlines, respect deadlines, respect deadlines. It's about respecting colleagues' time and, with the paper, making sure the product hits customers' doorsteps on time.

    Like the paper, I imagine book publishing is very much about the whole process, not just one person's creative process. And one day I hope to be totally immersed in that process.

  3. Ive been trying to incorporate deadlines into my writing time more than I used to. It's a good discipline and one I hope will be put to good use someday when I have someone breathing down my neck for revisions!
    Jan Cline

  4. I try to write something everyday, but this post has made me realize it's probably a good idea to formalize a schedule a bit more. It's good practice. Thanks.