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Do You Need a Deadline?

Do You Need a Deadline?

By on Sep 18, 2015 in Writing | 0 comments

Photo taken at Lake Tahoe during a Writer's Retreat, which can be very useful in making a deadline.

Photo taken at Lake Tahoe during a Writer’s Retreat, which can be very useful in making a deadline whether it’s real or self-imposed.

If you are thinking about writing a book or an article, I’d love to hear about it. If you’re serious about the writing, it’s a good idea to share with someone. It makes it more real and forces you to define your project.

If you do tell me, be forewarned that I will ask you about it often until you tell me it’s done or that you’ve set it aside indefinitely. I’ll ask because I know it can help to have someone checking in on you. When you’ve been putting it off, having someone ask can remind you how important it is. And if you’ve been working on it, it’s great to be able to report progress.

The question you may or may not want to hear is “what’s your timeline?”

It’s easy if you have a deadline. You just work your way backwards and figure out how much you need to get done when. But what about when you don’t? Should you make one up? Maybe. Are you one of those people who are driven by a deadline? Will that help you focus and get the work done? If so, then set yourself up. Mark it on a calendar. Find someone to hold you accountable. Get it done.

But that may not be the best route for you, especially if you’ve blown past a self-imposed deadline once or twice or several times. It can make you feel inadequate, incapable, and incompetent. That’s discouraging and won’t move you toward a finished product. Just the opposite, it can make you feel that it’s impossible.

Don’t beat yourself up about what you haven’t done. Be realistic. You’ve likely got a lot going on and other things have had to take priority. Give yourself the room that you need to keep this dream alive in the midst of all the other projects. Just because you haven’t gotten it or done or haven’t made the progress you want doesn’t mean you won’t.

Ask yourself where is this project on the priority list? How much of your time should it be taking? If this is an important part of advancing your business, maybe it should take a lot of time. If it’s something you’re doing as a side interest, maybe it’s only worth a couple of hours a week right now. That may not seem like much, but it will add up.

The important thing is to keep moving on it. Commit time to your writing so you continue to make progress even if you don’t have an end date in mind. Set it up in your calendar and make it a priority. Break it down into smaller chunks so you can see progress.

And from time to time, let me know how it’s going.

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