D – Deadlines


April 4, 2013 by KWills

(insert obligatory Douglas Adams quote here)

“This year, next year, sometime, never.”  There’s an art to setting deadlines.  Too close and the panic can strangle any creativity, too far and the urgency is lost.  The same is true of associated rewards and penalties – they mustn’t be too large or too small.  It takes a fair amount of trial and error to find your own level.

I find it most effective to set mini-deadlines for each stage of a big project.  If I’m tired, or having trouble getting into a project (like this week, for example) then I break it down further and give myself a specific task for the next half hour, or even fifteen minutes.  During NaNoWriMo, last November, my most productive days were spent writing for no more than ten minutes at a time.  Ten minutes writing, five minutes break, repeated for an hour, every other hour, throughout the day.  I wrote over 7,000 words in a single day using this method.  If I sit down in the morning and tell myself to write 6,000 words before night, I freeze up.  The task seems too big, and the deadline too far off.  Three hundred words in ten minutes, on the other hand, is perfectly possible.  They will not be well-crafted words, but they will be written.  Editing is a job for another day – tomorrow, in fact.

See you on the E-side.


6 thoughts on “D – Deadlines

  1. M.J. Fifield says:

    I use the mini-deadline approach, too, broken down as much as I need it to be so I won’t get overwhelmed by the entire scope of the project.

    I might be talking about editing tomorrow, too.

  2. That sounds like something I should get into doing. Mini deadlines. I’m a bit overwhelmed by everything I need to get done so I’m going to try this and see how I get on. Thanks for the post!

  3. Great advice going to try this thanks, I give it a try.

  4. stephscottil says:

    Nano is such a fun writing exercise. I think we find out so much about ourselves from it. I wrote 10k in one day last November, and then didn’t write again for another week. I can do that if I have to in order to make a goal, but like you, I feel more productive writing a little bit a few days a week in shorter chunks of time. I haven’t yet gotten to writing every day.

  5. I really enjoyed this article. I think I may just be thinking too much about the whole project. I like your idea of breaking it down.

  6. […] need to go back and read my own post on deadlines, as I have spent today procrastinating in the worst way.  I don’t even have a proper post […]

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