Deadlines can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they feel too short and you find yourself putting all of your energy into one project which leads to you neglecting other things. Other times, you may put it off until the last minute and then rush like crazy to get everything done on time.
Either way, when you’re given a deadline (whether it’s self-imposed or imposed by another person), you have to do everything in your power to hit it. So, how do you do this?
Plan Out Your Time
I know. I keep saying this. Because it’s important!
Don’t just wing it and hope for the best. Before you start, plan things out and figure out roughly how much time it’s going to take to knock out this particular book project. Then, spread it out over time and leave yourself some wiggle room in case things change or go wrong. Be diligent, but also be flexible.
I know how many words I can write per hour. So I plan things accordingly, breaking it down by hours per day of writing, then by week, then by month, et cetera. I know in advance how many pages or chapters I plan to accomplish within each time slot.
I acknowledge that not everyone likes the idea of a writing plan (a.k.a. an book outline), as indicated in this earlier guest post by Jennifer D. Foster titled The Ins and Outs of Outlines: Plotters Versus Pantsers. I personally never used an outline for any of my fictional novellas, but I started using one for my non-fiction books and have continued with this ever since. I find myself way more productive when I’m working with a set of plans and deadlines. I keep promises to myself.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
When you plan out your time, stick to the plan. Make sure you keep your promises to yourself, too. Create a rewards system, if possible, that allows for you to get what you want if you get your job done. Give yourself a cookie. Literally. Whatever helps you to stay on task.
Ask Questions and Get Answers Quickly
If you have a question during your book research, consult Google for an immediate answer instead of spending all day ruminating. The Internet is a great start in terms of helping you find the resources you may need to complete your project. It can also provide you with the citations you’ll need for your bibliography at the back of a non-fiction book. (Just make sure you fact-check the things you’re finding.)
Deadlines can be stressful, but they aren’t the end of the world. Keep these things in mind and you’ll meet your deadlines. Before you know it, you’ll have completed your book! What an accomplishment!
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