Tag Archives: deadlines

Closing in on Nanowrimo (or not)

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

Want to see how you do with deadlines? Want to push your boundaries and act like an author who has to turn in the full ms by the end of the month? The end of November is approaching and the close of National Novel Writing Month. One of the interesting things that is happening is how people react to a deadline. Those who are close to the fifty thousand word goal are pushing hard to finish. But those who aren’t close? Well, they have a variety of reactions.

There are the one’s who just give up. They know they can’t possibly hit 50K by the end of the month so why bother? These Nanoites just stop. It might be that they stop early, once they realize the month is not going to end like they want it too. It might be that they are giving up this week. When they realize they only have four more days left to cram an extra 25K in, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Then there are the ones who push on, no matter what. They resolutely keep struggling to finish. Even though they, and anyone who is sane, should know it ain’t gonna happen. But that doesn’t matte to them. They might make it! And if they don’t, they are sure going to be able to say they tried.

Of course there are the people like me. I never expected to actually finish the entire 50k this month. I knew going in that I was commuting, and working, and had other obligations that would make 50k impossible. But, I wanted to give myself a boost this month. Last November I didn’t write anything. Not one word. I know there are writers out there who work full time and still churn out books. That ain’t me.

Thanks Writertopia!


So, I set the goal of trying to finish a 30k ms instead. But I knew I might hit some bumps. And I did. My edits came in during week two and while they were extremely light, they still took some time. My CP (the amazing ML Guida) needed some editing done. So I took some time to do that. I could have said no, but she helps me out when I’m in a crunch. And I knew I wasn’t going to come close to finishing Nanowrimo.

So we come to the people like me. Great first week, declining second week, non-existant third week. Should have caught up over Thanksgiving, but I spent time with my family instead. So here I sit with 6963 words done out of my 30k goal. But I have four days left! So I’m going to be one of those optimistic people trying to push to at least get something done so my word count looks less pitiful. I figure I can reach 10k easily, so the goal is to hit 15K before the end.

And possibly 20K. If nothing crops up. Sure.

How do deadlines work for you? Does it make a difference if it’s set by someone else? What about deadlines that are for work or family members? Are you like me and put off the self-imposed deadlines for the “real” deadlines? What does this mean for your career?

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

Why Every Writer Should Face Their Fear and #Nanowrimo at Least Once

Moonday Madness

a blog for writers about writing

I’ve avoided Nanowrimo for years. I did try once, a long time ago, when it was a much smaller event with just a few thousand people. But I didn’t even sign up or try to connect with anyone. I just decided I would do my best to try to write fifty thousand words in a month. I knew before I started that it would be a failure. And it was. I stopped after the first week.

So now I’m attempting it again!

Why would I do that?

Well, for one thing, I’m a different writer now. I actually have finished projects. Not just one, but several. I know my writing strengths and weaknesses better. Back then I was a seat of the pants, had no idea of my plot or characters, or even when I would sit down to write, kind of person.

Now, I know exactly how many words I can pound out in an hour, when I know my scene. I’ve learned all  about Goal, Motivation, Conflict and I’m deep in the middle of scene and structure immersion. All these things make my writing process smoother. So I should do better, right? Write!

But why should every writer try this? Why do I believe it will make a difference?

Deadlines.

Not only do I have a deadline as to when the 50k must be finished. I can’t even start early! I must do it within the 30 days. That’s pressure. That means no editing, no hand holding, no prioritizing cleaning the bathroom over my keyboard. (Sorry family, things are going to get dirty!)

Did you hear the no editing?

Did you hear deadline?

Did you hear no cleaning? (Okay, if you have time, maybe a little.)

This is what all my author friends sound like when they have a book to turn in and the deadline is approaching. For authors with a contract and a book to write to that contract. Every book is a Nanowrimo book!

They’re up at all hours, deep in the pressure cooker, trying to get those words on the page. They have to stick to their outline. Why? Because if they don’t they don’t have time to go back and fix it! They can’t listen to their inner editors (sorry Gloria, Gracie is in trouble when the contract arrives) because if they do they will not finish, let alone on time.

When you are unpublished, or like me, an author with books to write without a contractual timeline, then you can waste time on other things and no one gets upset. (Well maybe you do.) You can take the time to go to coffee with a friend and say, oh  those words can wait until tomorrow, because there is no one else telling you they must be done by Tuesday, or else!

Nanowrimo becomes the evil editor. The one who makes you turn your book in on time. She makes you think about your story line ahead of time, because if you don’t, you run the risk of not being able to write 1,666 words per day for 30 days. And she’s the one you blame when you turn your best friend down for coffee. Or don’t clean the kitchen. Or send out for take out again and again and again. It’s all the fault of your editor, the person who needs this book by Novemeber 30th or the sky will certainly collapse.

Once again, why should you all practice this? Because fake it until you make it is how we get to be better authors. Practicing being an author with a deadline helps you finish books. Then you have to start submitting them. Which we all know is the harder part of the equation and may be why that book doesn’t get finished in the first place. Face your fear and attempt Nano! I am.

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Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

The Dreaded Deadline

An amazing thing happened to me when I decided to become a pre-published author instead of an un-published author. Suddenly I had deadlines. Those crazy things that published authors are secretly proud to have, but all moan about, just so us newbies know what we are missing. Those things, they showed up in my life like small children tugging at my skirts. “Feed us.”

They pull and push. They yammer and yowl. Where did they come from? I don’t have an editor, agent or anyone demanding my work be finished on time. Where could these crazy demanding deadlines come from?

They came from me. When I decided to act like I was published my world changed. I became a person with a schedule and I set up goals for myself and along with those goals came the deadlines, wounded crafts in need of attention, tied to my hardworking goals tugboating along. Being the messed up over-achiever that I am, I set up many goals, big goals, demanding goals. So their deadlines were many and big and demanding.

Deadlines are necessary for anyone to achieve at a rapid pace. There is no way I would be here. When I look back six months ago I had no website, no blog, no business cards. No business calling myself an anything, let alone an author. But now I have multiple works in progress, several are “finished”, and I am getting my name out there. People know me. People I have never met and may never meet know me as an author. And I have the deadlines to thank.

If you set goals without deadlines your odds of achieving them shrivel to nothing. There is no reason to complete anything without those whiny children tugging at you, reminding you, needing you. You float out there in the someday realm, waiting for something to happen. Deadlines keep us on track, keep us focused. And when you hit them, you get the added bonus of not only moving further down your chosen path, but you also get the glow of success. You achieved a deadline. You are great! You are fantastic! You are the bomb!

So set those goals, but make sure you invite deadlines to the table, and stick to them. Okay, even if you don’t stick to them they can drive you forward, but if you don’t hit them you don’t get the bonus. You don’t get to do the happy dance and sing and say “I’m the bomb!”

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Filed under channeling success, writing craft, writing organization