Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Manage a Book Deadline

As I write this blog post, I'm on a pretty snug deadline. I have a full-length manuscript and a novella due on the same day, January 15th. And I have another deadline March 15th for a novella that isn't even started yet! I'll admit, I'm starting to feel the time-crunch!

Every author faces deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise. And every wise author meets those deadlines. If your publisher is expecting a manuscript by a certain date, then an author needs to do all in their power to make sure they meet that goal. If they don't it snarls things up all along the line.
 So how can an author make sure they meet their deadlines? How can they come through during crunch-time? Here are a few tips I've found to be useful:

1. Know yourself. Know what kind of writer you are. 

  • Do you write better under pressure or do you wilt away?
  • Are you a fast writer?
  • Do you need time between drafts?

 2. Plan ahead.

  • Space out deadlines so they are realistic. 
  • Consider major holidays and vacations and life events for not only you but your family.
  • Look at your non-writing responsibilities to see what will be pressing on you near deadline-time.
  • Put in a little wiggle room for the unexpected like out-of-town guests or an illness.

3. Set manageable goals

  • Get out your calendar and determine how many days you have vs. how much you need to write or edit.
  • Make sure to factor in some days off...for me, I don't write or edit on Sundays.
  • Set some benchmark dates, i.e By X date, I will be 1/2 way through my ms.
4. Find ways to ease your schedule. 

  • Do some meal-prep ahead of time.
  • Say no to some activities and opportunities. Make your deadline your priority.
  • Delegate some chores around the house, or put some chores off. 
  • Turn off whatever distracts you...the TV, Facebook, whatever. (I am bad at this!)
How do you handle deadlines in your life? Do you relish them or loathe them or just deal with them as they come?

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  1. I'm a great procrastinator so I find myself working harder under pressure.

  2. A great plan, Erica - but I'm afraid that I'm often like Gail, a procrastinator that produces under pressure. I wish it were otherwise but not sure how realistic it is at my age, being retired and living alone doesn't help the situation.

  3. I'm with Anne! Taking notes for someday.

  4. I've always been a "does best work under intense pressure" kind of gal. However, I'd hate for the first time that fails me if to be if under an actual proper contracted deadline so I'm trying to get better at planning and pacing myself. (Plus while it may have been possible to turn a 1500 work university essay around in two days I'm pretty sure the same couldn't be said for a 90,000 word ms!)

  5. Yeah it’s very important to plan things ahead and I also believe that you should always take into extreme circumstances also into consideration. I fondly remember that our professor Aloke Ghosh used to tell us importance of planning things ahead.


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