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Last WW: The All Important First Draft 

Love them or hate them, at some point, you will have a deadline.  Maybe it’ll come from a publisher, or maybe it’ll be self-imposed.  Either way, sooner or later, it’s something every writer must face.

Why we hate them:

  • Deadlines are scary.  Many writers feel like they have to be in the mood to write, that a muse takes hold of them and lets the words flow.  I know I write my best when I’m writing because there’s an idea inside of me that simply must come out.  Sometimes, however, we have to find other things to motivate us.  Deadlines are one such thing.
  • It feels awful to miss it.  In many cases, it’s not the end of the world if you miss a deadline.  If it’s a contest, yeah, you’re probably in trouble.  But in most situations, the person who gave you that deadline will be lenient.  Unless that person is yourself.  When I give myself a deadline and I blow it, I’m really angry with myself.  It sort of destroys me and I have to take a few days to recover, which often pushes me even further off course.

Why we should love them:

  • They speed things up.  It’s great to write when the inspiration takes you.  But if you only write when it does, then it could be years, if not decades, before your book is finished.
  • They’re necessary.  If you go traditional, expect a lot of deadlines.  But they’re equally important if you’re indie, and for the same reasons.  It allows you to plan for marketing and promotions.  It enables you to give your readers answers, and they are usually a hungry bunch eager for your next book to come out.  It lets you know when you need to buckle down, and when you need to crack the whip.
  • It’s professional.  Going from Writer to Author requires a lot of follow through.  If you want readers to stick with you, they have to know that they can trust you.  This means making plans, like deadlines, and delivering on them.

They’re are many more reasons why deadlines are both good and bad.  In the end, I believe that they are a good thing.  For example, I have a story due on Friday.  While I am a bit of a procrastinator, I’ve been working on it.  It’s actually already gone through two drafts, and I’m finishing the third, which is more of a rewrite than anything.  There’s a lot that I need to do on it between now and then.  But rather than spending all day tomorrow watching reruns or movies, I’ll be butt in chair and working.  Why?  Because I have a deadline to keep.