I must admit that it’s slightly ironic that I put off writing this post until the last minute. I take comfort in the fact that it was due today, so at least I met the deadline, right? And that’s probably why I resonate with this quote by English humorist & Science Fiction novelist Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

Kidding aside, the fact is, many of us struggle with procrastination and setting deadlines is one of the best ways to make a clear plan for your writing goals, and one of the necessary evils when it comes to an author’s discipline.

A few tips I have found helpful for sticking to timelines are the following:

Think of your book or writing piece as a house you are building from scratch. A house has to be built in phases, and each of those phases needs a timeline.

Set a start date and a finish date for each phase. Each phase of your writing project should have a day you begin that phase and a day you complete it. Put it on your calendar.

Set realistic timeframes for each phase. If you really think you can write a chapter a day, go for it. Just make sure you really have that time each day, then block it out, and commit to it.

Focus on phase 1 first. Don’t worry about phase 2 until phase 1 is complete; just focus on phase 1.

Make your timeline public. Friends and family can be great motivators. Nothing will hold you more accountable than making your deadlines public.

Celebrate little victories. Save the champagne until after you complete your entire book, but make sure to take time to give yourself a little pat on the back for completing each phase. Then move onto next leg of the journey.

What tips do you have when it comes to setting deadlines? Please let us know in the comments section below.

 

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 563 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

2 thoughts on “A Writer’s Timeline – Tips for Setting Deadlines

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