Most writers put far too much pressure on themselves to finish the book by the ominous DEADLINE. But what are deadlines really? For some, they are ironclad dates that cannot be changed no matter what. For others, they are merely goals–a good measuring stick for your real progress. What should they be? I’d like to think the latter. On my current manuscript, I set the deadline (a few months back) for November 15th as my publishing date. Well, it’s November 16th and I definitely didn’t publish my manuscript on time. Should I beat myself up about it? No. Here’s why.

>> Life Happens // I knew something was off with my body on Monday. My hubby had been feeling pretty sick himself and, as tends to happen with married folks, I quickly caught his sinus bug. However, the Philosopher has a superman immune system and me? Well, I don’t. Like, it’s BAD, LOL. When he started getting better (woohoo!) I started getting much worse. Now, during all this time, I never stopped working. I just moved my work station to my bedroom where I had comfy pillows, soft lighting, and tissues within arm’s reach. By Thursday, I could have started panicking, but I didn’t. I said, “It’s unlikely I’ll make my original deadline, but I’m going to keep working anyway.” I got an antibiotic and kept working on my book. You know what? I got a stinkin’ TON accomplished yesterday. I finished an edit, formatted the manuscript for eBook and started another edit. Today, I woke up and kept trucking along on my edit. By 11:30 AM, by body was like, “Whoa! Hold up, sister. You need a break.” So, I rested. I took a nap until 1:00. Then, I took a break from my manuscript and worked on Maiedae projects. Now I’m working on blogging. I realized that I, like many writers, have many responsibilities and when I get sick, I have to make sure I can still accomplish other priorities. As much as I wanted to sequester myself at my laptop until I could finish the book, I had many other responsibilities that had to be attended to.

>> Some Deadlines are Arbitrary // When setting deadlines, it’s good to remember that in all likelihood, the date will be arbitrary. You’ll look at your calendar and say, “Hmm…I think I can finish a whole book and get it ready for publishing by such and such a date.” In actuality, that may in fact be possible, but it may not. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your deadline. You set it for yourself as a goal, to ensure that you keep up the hard work and give it your best shot. My husband likes to remind me of this one. When I got discouraged this week (by being sick on “publishing week”), he reminded me that the original date was arbitrarily picked and I had no idea when I made it that I would get sick or be swamped with other work demands.

>> Deadlines Are Suppose to be Helpful // When independent authors set deadlines, it’s good to remember that they’re your friend and not your enemy. We set deadlines to help us measure our progress and yes, maybe get a product completely finished. But we’re also writing stories that need LOTS of time, care, attention, and edits. Sometimes, it’s not possible to make your deadline. You know what? THAT’S OKAY. Think of how much you accomplished and keep working. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t make your deadline. Celebrate all that you accomplished in that specific amount of time.

>> You Can Make New Deadlines // So you missed your first deadline. Make a new one and try to get your book finished by that deadline. If you miss it again? Refer to all of the above points. 😉 Life is going to happen. You might have to go back and rewrite a huge section of your book and that will throw off your schedule. It’s alright. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. If you absolutely get stuck, set your manuscript away for a while and work on other projects. Come back to it with fresh eyes and vigor. Set a new deadline and get going!

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What does this mean for my second novel? It’s coming, I promise! Just not by yesterday. 🙂 My hope is that it will be available in eBook by Thanksgiving and then in print sometime in late November//early December. You can expect it soon. Thank you to all my readers (book readers and blog readers) for the encouragement, support, and happy thoughts! You guys are great! Have a terrific Friday!

Housekeeping:

>> Sponsors — Check out my lovely sponsors to the right! As well, if you’re interested in advertising on Unearthing Words, we have plenty of spots! Here is my handy dandy advertising page!

>> “A Christmas Tale” Blog Event — If you love reading and Christmas, AND have a blog, this event is for you! Check out our signup information!

>> If you love fantasy novels, consider giving my book Night Bells a read! It’s available here and here. Also, if you’d like a preview, here is the first chapterfor your sampling pleasure.

The Truth About Deadlines
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