Book Deadlines—Do or Die

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Deadlines are good. They help writers focus on completing book-writing tasks. Sometimes deadlines aren’t so good. Writers may carefully plan how they’re going to meet deadlines, padding their schedules for unexpected events. Then they discover the padding wasn’t enough and they’re in a pickle.

Unexpected Events for John Writer

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Others experience their own unanticipated happenings. They don’t provide something John Writer needs to move forward.

An illness or accident whacks John Writer’s energy to do anything or fills his schedule with doctor appointments.

Unplanned personal events arise. Although some personal incidents are necessary to attend to, others aren’t, but John Writer feels they are. He would feel ashamed to not give of his time. Here are examples:

         ♥ A grandchild living five hours away is receiving a honor at school and has asked John Writer to be there.

         ♥ A church or charity committee has asked member John Writer to help with an event. Why should John Writer say no? The others on the committee have deadlines too. Sadly, a lot more prep work was involved than what was promised.

         ♥ John Writer’s spouse patiently waits for him to be part of her life again and, with hope filling her eyes, asks Writer to go away for a weekend.

So What Does John Writer Do?

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Asks spouse to drive on trips, and with a laptop on his lap, he works during the journey.

Pulls all-nighters.

Weasels out of writer group meetings; after all, the participants should understand deadlines.

Allows excellence to slip on non-writing or other writing tasks.

Dumps woes on spouse.

Lives in an overwhelmed state.

Quits marketing other books, vows never to write another book, asks the conference to be postponed so he can get his workshop developed—what?!

STOP – Find Good Solutions

Here are what I think I’m going to do or continue doing:

Pray for help. God is faithful.

Choose not to do frivolous tasks or those that can be postponed without hurting anyone, such as

♥ Leave the dust on the shelf in the closet.

♥ Don’t peruse the Grandin Road magazine that came in the mail, whose wares I will never buy anyway.

♥ Sew the bow back on my PJs.

Care for myself, such as

♥ Take rejuvenating breaks and spend fifteen minutes with my husband.

♥ Nix the mulling and worrying at bedtime; mulling or worrying is a choice.

♥ Refuse to work on Sundays.

♥ Retreat to our cabin to work—getting away from phone calls and seeing the dust on my closet shelf.

Yes, for a season, get up early on Saturdays and snatch more time where appropriate.

Ask for an extension on the deadline. If an illness or other tragedy occurs, this is valid and usually honored by publishers.

Use deadlines to help get your book written, not to kill you. Click to tweet.

How do you deal with deadlines? Give us your healthy suggestions.

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Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Deadlines, Platform, Life Commitments, Oh My!

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Have you ever felt so frazzled, you couldn’t find the panic button?

You may even ask, “How could this happen? I’m an organized person.”

Last week as I shuffled through my Writer’s Digest magazines, I spotted the February 2017 issue’s article, “Map Your Writing Time” by Sage Cohen. I gauged Ms. Cohen’s suggestions with how I use them.

Ms. Cohen’s Suggestions

1. Articulate your destination. I prioritize my writing and personal goals every week. I divvy up tasks then enter them on my scheduling template, which already displays regular tasks. I put an * next to writing, platform, speaking, and marketing tasks. On the side, l record future tasks to schedule. If I can, I include some padding. Then I report my goals with an * to my accountability partners.

2.  Make one goal inform another to “allocate your time in a way that delivers the greatest value.” I often use the projects I’m working on as subjects of my blogs. For example, when I did a book signing for my first book, I wrote a blog post from my research and experience. Reviewing that post while I write this one, reminded me of tasks I need for the bookstore signing I’m doing this Saturday.

3.  Set timers so you don’t spend too much time on nonwriting tasks. No problem. I have two devices in my office, but I’ll now use the timers more on nonwriting tasks.

4,  Use nonwriting commitments to service your writing. I always mull writing ideas during long drives to scheduled obligations. I’ll brainstorm my protagonist’s goals on my half-hour drive to my writers’ group tomorrow.

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5.  If you’re repeatedly drawn toward a project that’s not a top priority, consider moving it there. Although I scheduled work on my new novel, my non-fiction kept calling me to finish it ahead of deadline and send it. After reading this suggestion, I’m doing that.

6.  Don’t waste perfectly good slivers of time. I’m writing now while my husband attends an evening meeting.

7. Rise an hour earlier when it’s quiet. I get up at 5:30, but I’m considering 5:00 for a short duration while I’m under two deadlines and know galleys are coming soon for a third book.

8.  Leave notes where you stop working. I suppose I should expand on “STOPPED HERE.”

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9.  Track your time on tasks and learn how much time you need so you’ll know better what tasks and projects you can take on. Good idea, but I don’t have time. :0)

10.  Stop panicking and appreciate the time you have and the progress you’re making in that time. I’ll appreciate my time and progress more. I’m already thankful for a husband who takes over housework so I can write. He’s also taken over some marketing tasks.

Reading Ms. Cohen’s suggestions showed me I do many of the right activities. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I need to forget the pileup and just do what I’ve scheduled.

Writers, are you so panicked you can’t find the panic button? Click to tweet.

What do you do to make your writing, platform, and life commitments mesh?