DeadlineMany writers say they work better on a deadline, whether it’s a contract deadline, an agent excited about their next book, or a contest. All of those are external forces pushing us to complete a project by a certain time.

But what about setting our own deadlines. Are they as motivating?

For me the answer is sometimes and sometimes not. Right now I’m trying to finish my Fact of Life #31 e-story to time it with the start of my GoodReads giveaway of autographed paperbacks on May 24. I’m highly motivated because I’ve said in the giveaway that the story is available. Of course, the contest doesn’t start for another week so conceivably I could change the contest text before it goes out.

But I don’t want to. I want to finish the story and have it ready. So I’m writing like crazy, which is a good thing.

Setting mini-goals

I’ve found that the best way for me to reach a goal is to set mini-goals along the way. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know this because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. If I want to have the story available on May 24, that means I have to write it, revise, finalize the cover that my son is designing, format it for different devices and e-readers and get the links on my site. So, my deadlines look like this.

May 20-21: Finish final revisions

May 22: polish – get final cover

May 23: Format versions

Time the Deadline with an Event

Another deadline tip that has worked for me in the past is to time it before a big event – a holiday, vacation, the arrival of guests – something where I know I’m not going to be able to do much, if any, writing. If you’re like me, you’ll be looking forward to that event and won’t want the writing you didn’t do hanging over your head…so you’ll get it done.

If you have other tips or tricks you use to meet a self-imposed deadline, share them!