Last week, I wrote about the power of deadlines to improve your writing productivity. And that’s great—if you have an editor waiting for your finished manuscript. But what if you don’t? How can you make deadlines work for you?
Here are some tactics that have worked for me:
Step 1: Find Motivation/Inspiration
1. Participate in a goal-setting group, such as Book-in-a-Week.
3. Participate in something even bigger. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges participants to pen (or type) 50,000 words during the month of November. It’s a fantastic exercise—read more here.
Step 2: Prepare for Success
4. Adjust your schedule: don’t just expect to meet your goal by working in your spare time. Put it on your calendar.
5. Plan bonus writing time. Can you get away a night a week? Can you spend a weekend in a hotel room? An afternoon in the library? Get creative and find extra time slots that will help you push toward that deadline.
6. Institute short-term “extreme measures” to reduce distractions during your writing time, such as renting an office space or disconnecting phone or internet.
7. Create a back-up plan. You know it will happen: your sprinklers will spring a leak or the dog will throw up or you’ll face a sudden crisis at work…or something will get between you and success. So, what are you gonna do about it? Chances are, you’d find a way to meet your deadline if you were working for someone other than yourself; apply that problem-solving mentality and find solutions and options before a crisis strikes.
Step 3: Get Accountable
8. Make your deadline public. Post it to Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your website, wherever people will see and help to keep you accountable. Check out the Write or Die website for motivational evil cackles.
9. Give your deadline meaning: attach rewards for success!
10. Give your deadline meaning: attach negative consequences for failure. Randy Ingermanson (the “Snowflake Guy”) wrote an article on this in his December, 2009 newsletter.
Motivation + Preparation + Accountability = Success!
What about you? Any tools or tricks to share?