Friday, January 30, 2015

Deadlines, Published or Not: Critical Tools for Writers

By Donnell Ann Bell 

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”  ~ Douglas Adams

Amusing quote, and if you’re a writer, no doubt, one you can relate to. It may have even been relevant back in the day when competition was less and publishers had a small stable of authors. They had no choice but to wait. For the author, for the delivery of mail, for the printing press, and the invariable steps publishers went through to make a book ready for market.

Don’t look now, folks, but it’s 2015. Like it or not, due to ease of technology (anyone remember carbon paper?), books are being written—and published—whether they’re good, whether they’re edited, or whether they’re ready for an audience. I can literally string a bunch of sentences together, and if I’m willing to pay, slap a cover on them, self-publish them, and call myself an author.
I choose not to do that, and I hope I can convince you to follow a more polished direction as well. Am I telling you not to self-publish? Not at all. What I am suggesting is that you give yourself a fighting chance: hone your craft, work on your project and while you’re carving that path, give yourself deadlines.

Okay, but deadlines are for people who have a publishing contract, right? Again, not at all. Deadlines are something we writers set to finish a book in the first place. I will write 3,000 words a day. I will have Draft One finished by xx. I will send it out to readers by xx. I will devote xx amount of time to research and xx amount of time to writing. What’s more, I will not – I repeat, I will NOT keep working on the same three chapters over and over again. Setting daily deadlines is instrumental. That is, if you wish to have a successful writing career.

I’m on deadline. I have no time to let anything go whooshing by me. Not in this competitive market. I want readers to buy my books. More importantly, I want them to remember me when the next book comes out. It’s 2015 and the publishing era has exploded. If writing truly is your passion, and you want to call yourself an author (a writer who didn’t quit), set daily and monthly goals. Will you fail on occasion? Of course. But the good news is you’ll pick yourself up. Like anything, goal-setting is about repetition and it is habit forming. What’s more, published or not, it fills you with a huge sense of accomplishment. Write your goals on your calendar. Set affirmations. Send yourself daily reminders, including 'have I completed my word count today'?

The world is filled with distractions. Thanks to the Internet, attention deficit is at an all-time high. As commander of your ship, you are in charge of your destination. With all due respect to Mr. Douglas’s funny quote above, I infinitely prefer . . .

A goal is a dream with a deadline ~ Napoleon Hill

Happy 2015.

About the Author: Donnell Ann Bell is the author of The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall and Betrayed, all of which have been e-book best sellers. Buried Agendas is her newest release. She is honored that The Past Came Hunting and Betrayed were chosen as part of the Pikes Peak Library book club; further she loves to visit with readers. Along with veteran police officer Wally Lind, Donnell co-owns Crimescenewriters, a Yahoo group putting law enforcement experts together with writers. Like her on Facebook or contact her via her website   

1 comment:

  1. I love that definition of a goal! Nice post, and thanks for the reminder of the deadlines a writer needs to keep to.


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