Force Yourself to Write

Do you impose your own deadlines?

This past Saturday, I planned to work eight hours for my client. My estimate fell short. Eight hours put my goal in sight, but not yet reached. So after dinner, I worked another hour or two until I finished those pages.

Because of that, Monday I was free to start the next section — one step closer to the project’s completion.

Why put in extra hours? I have a deadline, one I agreed to in my contract. For the organization’s members to receive their magazine on time, it needs to reach the printer in time.

I have several incentives to meet the deadline. I want to receive a check at the end of the month. But even deeper, it’s a matter of professionalism, ingrained over forty years.

If someone gives you a deadline, you meet it. If dire circumstances arise, you immediately get in touch, explain the problem, and see if the deadline can be extended. Often it can, if you make the request for an exception both real and rare.

You can easily you can put off writing until you have time.

But not all writers fall under another’s ticking clock. That can lead to trouble. You can easily put off writing until there’s time.

Life is seldom convenient. Other demands always arise, unless you set your own deadline.

Since November 2014, I’ve posted weekly to my website. Every Wednesday. No exceptions. Why? I’ve set a deadline.

Sometimes I don’t schedule the post until Tuesday evening, but it’s always done by then. It’s my deadline.

Perhaps if I loved writing more, I wouldn’t need one. But I’m lazy. Effective writing takes work, and for me that takes discipline. So I impose that structure on my week.

If you say you don’t need deadlines, congratulations. But before you proclaim that to others, confirm your claim. In the past week, month, or year, how much have you actually written? Now set yourself some deadlines.

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About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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