Do you have a deadline to meet for your writing? In this post, we share five essential tips for meeting writing deadlines.
The question I suppose we should start with is: do deadlines work? Well, that depends on who you are. Most likely, you’ll know the answer to that immediately. For me, they definitely do. It helps me prioritise my work and my writing and increases my productivity.
I have written about this before: 5 Ways To Deal With Difficult Writing Deadlines. In this post, I’ll deal with tips for meeting deadlines.
I have a lot on my plate. A deadline automatically tells me where my attention should be. The challenge is my ‘work stuff’ always takes precedent over my creative work. The deadlines for my creative work are always more flexible and therefore my creative projects get left behind. I have resorted to very public deadlines to ensure I meet my creative, as well as my work, quota.
There have been studies that say deadlines don’t work for creative work. I’ve been using deadlines for my creative work for four years now and I’ve produced more work than ever before.
If you are consistently producing work without needing deadlines, this obviously isn’t for you, but if you are tired of weeks and months and years passing and your creative work constantly getting left behind, deadlines and a good community will help.
Let’s look at some tips for meeting deadlines.
5 Essential Tips For Meeting Writing Deadlines
1. Set Goals:
Decide on what and how much you want to write. Is your goal to write a novel in a year? One short story per month? Do you want to rewrite your Nano project? Also add your career and general life goals. We like a holistic approach.
2. Write A List To Prioritise:
Start every day with a list of tasks. Include both your creative work and your day job tasks. These are the actionable tasks that will make your goals a reality.
3. Set A Time Limit For Each Task:
Decide how much time you will need to complete these tasks. You won’t be able to write your novel in one day, but decide how much time you can allocate. I dedicate about 30 minutes to my creative project every morning. Once that is done I start on my work projects. For example, I use 30 minutes twice a day for email. I’ll spend an hour a day on content creation, and another 30 minutes on community engagement. You get the idea. Time limits make me mindful and stop me from getting distracted. I only have a certain amount of time for this. As Jack Kornfield said in, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book, ‘the problem is you think you have time’.
4. Do Your Creative Work First:
Work deadlines are important and by their nature there is accountability. Creative deadlines need some extra attention. Martin Haworth, leadership coach and writer, shared this video called Willpower by Roy Baumeister with our community. It is very insightful when it comes to producing creative work.
5. Don’t Over Commit:
I have a tendency to want to do everything. I have learnt that I have to be very deliberate about what I commit too. Go back to your goal list. What is your biggest, most important goal? Stay focussed.
The Last Word
Deadlines have changed my life. These aren’t stress-inducing, panic-creating deadlines, but manageable dates that hold me accountable and keep me productive. What works for you?
Tip: Create a writing habit with Hooked On Writing: 31 Days To A Writing Habit
by Mia Botha
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