Adding more deadlines to my life has made me a more motivated and dedicated writer. Yes, this means more pressure, but deadlines are the driving force for most writers.
I must meet two monthly and two weekly deadlines plus various deadlines for freelance projects. This requires organization and dedication.
If I don't meet my magazine monthly deadlines, my bills don't get paid. This means that I cannot write posts for twelve days straight. To compensate for this time crunch, I write five posts during the other eighteen or so days to stay ahead of the weekly blog deadlines. I write one extra in case I run into production problems, illness, or emergencies. I write the posts in advance so I don't let our readers or myself down. It's too easy to let deadlines for fun projects slide--and then let go of them altogether.
Another weekly deadline was added when I signed up for a writing class led by an excellent teacher who inspires me to write more thoughtfully and expansively. The other students are terrific writers and listeners who make insightful suggestions that improve my writing, too. Good feedback is also essential. It strengthens my work when I can see clearly what to cut, rewrite, or edit.
As I have done for years, I continue to fill a spiral notebook every month with thoughts, jottings, and early drafts of posts and assignments. I write in this notebook first thing in the morning and keep it nearby all day so I don't lose ideas, random phrases, and thoughts that come to me.
Furthermore, Cheryl and I agreed to work on our novels to new deadlines. November is National Writing Novel Month, but this project doesn't work for us--it's difficult to find the time to write a novel with the regular pressures of life and, for Cheryl and her husband, all the fall sports' practices and games for five boys and one girl to carpool and attend, as well as preparation for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays.
We are going to start in January and work on completing our novels following either or both The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt and 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. Feel free to join us!
January, February, and March are good months to spend inside working on big projects as there are no major holidays and the weather compels us to stay inside with hot tea and cocoa. I cannot wait to start--and finish!
If this time frame doesn't work for you, try following The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray or The Weekend Novelist Writes A Mystery by Robert J. Ray and Jack Remick. Get going on your novels now!
There just isn't enough time for all the reading and writing I want to do. Additional deadlines mean not only more writing (which leads to better writing), but less procrastination and more goals achieved. Give yourself some deadlines and see what happens to your writing.
What deadlines do you use to keep writing?