Monday 8 July 2024

Working With Deadlines - The Creative Process


I've been publishing for almost nineteen years now and in that time I've drafted almost fifty first drafts. I have also revised and edited over twenty of them. I'm now in the run up to my next release, and I thought that today I would talk about what it's like to work with deadlines as a writer because once you start writing, and releasing, whether that's indie or trad, you will have deadlines, and you will need to find a way that works, for you, so that you can keep going with them hanging over you.

As someone who also has several chronic conditions, and someone who doesn't handle stress all that well, I've found a lot of ways to deal with deadlines over the years. Some of them weren't particularly healthy and so I won't be passing those on, but others have helped to keep me focused, and on target and allowed me to get the work done, without sacrificing my own mental, or physical, health.


A lot of the time for me, because I have such an extensive backlog of books, I'm not dealing with drafting to a deadline, but I could see how I'd manage to do it because I am, usually, dealing with revising and editing to one. While I'm aware that I'm exceptionally lucky to be in a position where I can juggle more than one project at a time, for a lot of writers, that's not the case. They can't be doing drafting, and editing, and revising, without finding themselves getting burnt out exceptionally fast. So I'm not going to tell you that you should do that, unless it's something you're already doing and know works for you.

Instead I'm going to say that you should be clear with what you need to do, as in revise a book in time for a deadline, or do editing passes for a deadline, and so on, and make sure you have a plan of attack. Whether that's telling yourself you will do one chapter a day for x amount of days. Or whether that's making sure that you leave yourself enough time to fit in some rest days as well as days when you might need some wiggle room because things did not go to plan.

Just to be clear, there should be both the rest days (because we are human and we need downtime) AND the days to catch up if things go awry. They should not be doing the job of both in that rest days don't have to be earned, and you will need that time to recharge.


If you're someone like me who does really well with being organised, then this one is for you. I have multiple lists on my tablet of things that need to happen and how I'm going to go about doing it. As in I break down every step, and then set myself a mini deadline for when that needs to happen. This allows me to see, at a glance, where I am in the process and also what lies ahead.

Like if I know that I need to get the developmental edits done by a certain date, then I know exactly how to go about doing it, how to parcel out each part of the task, and then get my butt in my chair and get it done. Of course that can apply to any number of things, but when I have multiple deadlines, I have multiple lists, making sure that I can see what needs to happen when and how long I have left to get it done.

It's the way my mind works, but it has been a lifesaver for me more than once, just being able to quiet the anxiety in my mind and work it all out on the page so that I know I'm not going to be stressed about missing a deadline. It's been the thing that's kept me on track for a number of years, and when you find a way that works for you, you tend to use it again and again.

So there we go, those are my two top tips when it comes to deadlines. I know that for me, as an indie author, a lot of my deadlines are self-set, but that doesn't mean that they are therefore ignorable. After all, when it comes to edits and the like, it's not a deadline that impacts only me, but also the people who I've booked to do the next stage. So keep that in mind when making your plans, and good luck with whatever you're doing.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.  

No comments:

Post a Comment