Deadlines

The Looming Doom – Deadlines
We’ve all head deadlines to face – whether it be yearly like WriYe, monthly like NaNo, or weekly like LWS. How do you face your deadlines? Any advice to help meet them? Any advice on what to do when you miss them?

I’ve always found that I write best when I’m working towards a deadline.  That’s part of the reason why I’m working my way through my WIPs this year using self-imposed deadlines.  By giving myself a date to have a piece completed, I find that I work harder at actually completing it.

Whether it’s in writing or in crafts, I find that the best way to work towards a deadline is to break things up into manageable pieces.  Rather than saying, “I need to finish this shawl in six weeks”, I’ll say, “I need to get through seven repeats of the pattern each week, one repeat each day.”  With writing, that sometimes means looking at how long I want the story to be and deciding how many words I should write on it each day.  Other times, it means looking at my outline and deciding how many sections I need to finish each day.  Whatever I do, breaking the project up into small pieces keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

So… what happens when I miss a deadline?  Well, the worst case scenario, is that the piece gets put on the back burner and, sometimes, never finished.  Sometimes, that’s all right.  I’ve had times when I’ve set something aside and come back to it a few weeks/months/years later and been able to complete it.  Some things just need time to rest before you can work on them.  Other times, I carry the object over and give myself a new deadline.  I didn’t finish this story last month, so now… I’ll definitely finish it this month.

The best advice I can give when dealing with deadlines is this: don’t let them destroy you.  The worst thing I’ve heard of on the NaNo and similar forums is when people know they aren’t going to finish their story by the end of the month so they just quit altogether.  So what if you aren’t going to get to 50K in 30 days?  If you stop writing, you’ll never finish the story at all.  To me, that’s far worse.

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