D. F. Krieger

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Managing Deadlines

Hey, you've got a project with a deadline tomorrow that's fifteen thousand words.  Oh, and don't forget the one in two days that is another twenty-one thousand. You say you can't get them done in time, but you just wrote them in me yesterday. If you put them in me, you must be able to do them. Eh, not my problem.

Signed; 

Your Planner

Does this sound like you?  I sure hope not.  It does bring up two very good points I'd like to go over today.  Ever heard of biting off more than you can chew? Yep, that would be point number one.  Point number two?  We'll get to that in a minute.

Biting off more than you can chew is a common concept.  We hear about it all the time, but how many of us apply it to ourselves?  Some writers find submission calls and throw themselves into proposals without really thinking about their limits.  Do you work?  Do you have kids?  Do you participate in activities that keep you busy until two hours til midnight?  Then you, my friend, are not likely going to be able to accomplish writing a twenty thousand word novella in 8 days.

We all want as many options as available to make our way in life, but we have to start by knowing our limits.  If we know the best we can do is two thousand words a day, DON'T take that submission call that wants a 25k novella by Friday, and today is Wednesday.  You can't do it.  It's not because something is wrong with you; we all have our own pace.  But you're setting yourself up for failure, and that can lead to some latent self-esteem issues down the road.  Don't be that guy.

Be smart, know your limits and then choose what you are going to aim for based on them.  You can do two thousand words a day?  Great!  Find a project that doesn't have a deadline for another month or so.  Be certain you stick with it and don't wait til the last minute to work on it.  Plan for a set writing time every day; which brings us to point number two.

Your Planner.  It can be your best friend, or your worst enemy.  It isn't responsible for what you put in it, and it can't force you to pick it up and show it some love.  It can, however, help you pace yourself.  Get a planner, use it, and for the love of all, please pick it up once a day.  Flip through several pages to get a feel for upcoming projects and whether or not your still on track.  If you don't think you can cope with the responsibilities of a physical planner, there are plenty of virtual ones out there just waiting to be adopted.

Is there something else you use to organize your deadlines?  Please, leave a comment and share your wisdom with us! ~ D. F. Krieger

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