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How to Get a Deadline

by Rochelle Melander

I wrote a dozen poems and submitted them to my editor for possible inclusion in an anthology. I knew that turning them in on time would increase my chances of getting one included in the collection.

I create a lesson plan every week, because I need to show up and teach real children.

But revise my novel? Oh, that can wait. After all, who cares if I finish it?

And that’s the challenge that most of us face. We are writing our poems, stories, and books without deadlines. We don’t have readers who are eagerly waiting for our work. It becomes easy to put it off in favor of more pressing work.

And we do that even though we really want to finish our novel or write our book.

Writers, you need a deadline. Even if you don’t get one handed to you by an agent or editor, you need one. Having a deadline will help you find the focus you need to start and finish writing projects.

Here’s how you can create accountability for yourself without a traditional deadline:

Hire a beta reader. For a fee, beta readers will review your book and let you know what’s working and what’s not working. Inquire about a beta reader. Once you get slotted in their schedule, you have a deadline. And you’re paying for it—so get writing!

Join a critique group. Critique groups will give you the opportunity to submit your work in small chunks at regular intervals. I belong to two critique groups and the regular deadlines help me keep writing.

Exchange work with a writing buddy. Make a commitment to exchange work with a writing partner every week or every other week. It helps if you can meet in person or online to review the pieces.

How will you hold yourself accountable to write this year?

How I can help,

If you need a regular writing deadline, consider attending my Writing Goddess Group. Each member turns in 6-8 pages for review each session. We begin Thursday, April 25.

My most popular group, the Writing Accountability Group, begins Monday, April 29. And here’s the best part! You will get time to write each week!

And don’t forget my class on Procrastination: Stop Procrastinating, Start Writing. I will teach you ten tools to help you stop procrastinating.

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