(Part Three of my series 5 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT GETTING PUBLISHED will return next week but Jennifer Novotney's debut novel, WINTER IN THE SOUL, was released by Anaiah Press last week and she was kind enough to write a guest post for my blog. Take it away, Jennifer!)
How to Handle Pressure: Writing Under Deadlines
When thinking about deadlines, there are really two types in my book. The first are self-imposed deadlines and the second are external deadlines.
Self-imposed deadlines are those that I’ve created for myself. For example, if I want to get to ten thousand words by the end of the week, then I’ll make that a deadline for myself. I am intrinsically motivated to complete these. That means that there is something inside motivating me to complete it. There is no outside consequence if I don’t reach my goal.
External deadlines are real, hard deadlines from an outside source. For example, my edits are due back to my publisher by the end of the week. I am extrinsically motivated to reach these types of deadlines. That means there is a force from outside myself pushing me to reach my goal of completion.
The best way to handle any type of deadline, self-imposed or external, is to prioritize. My life is extremely busy and I have a number of things I’m juggling at any given moment, so when a new deadline is thrown into the mix, it can be easy to panic. I have to admit that sometimes I do this! Then, I calm down and prioritize what I have to do and make a schedule.
Procrastinating makes me anxious, so for me, it’s best not to leave a large chunk of work for the night before a deadline. I like to work in small increments, even if it’s every day. I’ve been doing this since college, and it’s worked well for me in my writing process. I actually end up reaching deadlines early in most cases.
Here’s my step-by-step approach to handling deadlines under pressure:
Step 1: Take a deep breath and assess the amount of work.
It can be easy to let your anxiety take over when you look at a large project. Don’t let this happen! Any project, no matter how large, can be tackled by breaking it up into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Take inventory of the project as a whole.
How long will this take? How many hours a day will you have to dedicate to this project to meet your goal? Can you work on it every day? Will you need some flex time? Will you need breaks? Can you work straight through and still keep your sanity? These are questions to ask yourself when assessing the project as a whole.
Step 3: Look at the timeline and the deadline date.
Do you have a week? A month? Three months? This is important in assessing how much time you need to dedicate to your project every day or every week. A shorter deadline will dictate more time each day while you may have some wiggle room with a longer deadline. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate!
Step 4: Break the large project up into smaller pieces based on how many days until the deadline.
So, it’s simple math. If you have five days to write ten thousand words, you will have to write two thousand words a day. Apply this idea to your project and deadline. I like to have the same amount of work each day spread across my time with no days off. FInd out what works for you.
Step 5: Stick to the schedule.
Once you’ve figured out what it will take to complete your project, stick to your outline. If you have to write two thousand words a day to reach your goal, then do it. Don’t fall into the habit of grouping two days worth of work together. It can be a slippery slope, which might be hard to master.
Step 6: Work ahead when you can.
Let’s say you’re on a roll. Don’t just stop at two thousand words if you have more in your head. Go to two thousand five hundred for the day. Then, you’ll have a positive outlook for your deadline the next day knowing you are a quarter of the way there already. Positive thinking works wonders.
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.
When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.
Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.
Add to Goodreads:
Anaiah Press: http://www.anaiahpress.com
Includes 5 autographed posters and 5 keychains