Have you thought about all the different jobs a writer does? Robert Brewer, over at My Name Is Not Bob, made a list:
- file clerk,
No wonder writers stress out over deadlines!
Deadlines don’t have to be so stressful, though, if you know how to handle them. Here are five essential tips.
1. Learn to say no. Overcommitting is the main reason why writers miss deadlines. A writer’s focus should be on quality and not quantity. Ask yourself realistically how much can you handle and still do it well and on time.
2. Communicate clearly. At the start of a project, find out exactly what your client expects from you, both in content and in deadlines. Ask questions. Find out who your “go to” people are and the best way to get in touch with them when you need quick answers. I’ve seen writers lose days, even weeks, of precious time when an unanswered question sent them writing in the wrong direction.
3. Implement a “goals vs. deadlines” mindset. Deadlines become much less stressful when you break them into smaller manageable goals. Before you start a project, make time to create a project schedule. Set a realistically attainable goal for each day, and don’t forget to build in time for revisions. Then stick to your schedule.
4. Focus on one goal at a time. Your schedule has created for you a list of the tasks needed to complete your project. The great thing about this is that it frees your brain from worrying about meeting your project’s deadline. Instead of racing toward the finish line, now you can focus on just one goal at a time. Do that. If possible, put tomorrow’s goal out of your head while you work on today’s.
5. Keep in touch. I’ve found that clients like progress reports, especially early in a project. I send a progress report every Friday, or at least every other Friday. Find out if your client will appreciate you submitting your work in pieces. Often, sending a few chapters at a time allows writers and editors to work out glitches before they become knotty problems.
Did I miss anything? How do you lighten deadline stress? Share your thoughts below.