Deadlines: A Writer’s Best Friend

  • Good Cover
  • Good Title
  • Good Blurb/Description
  • Good Price
  • Good Sample

Hmm, isn’t it interesting that the first 4 things listed above, constantly cited as the absolutely bare necessities for a successful Indie ebook, are the things that an author going through traditional channels typically has NO control over at all?

Yeah, I know. Don’t go on that rant again.

I have a confession to make. So far the posts concerning this experiment has focused on the development of the Salmon Run series, specifically the first book. The posts concerning development aren’t even close to completion, and yet, I need to move on.

Why?

Because not only is the first draft of the first novella completed, the first THREE are completed. And they were completed in July of 2010.

So, let’s skip forward a bit to the actual writing process. (I’ll see about completing the other posts in the series later)

Getting great ideas, worldbuilding (or universe building), and planning are all fine and good, but if an author can’t finish the actual writing then they are only fun diversions. A lot of writers have trouble with the actual writing and finishing projects. There are a variety of reasons why this happens, but I want to talk about one technique for getting past all the hang-ups and excuses:

A deadline.

I had a self-imposed deadline for launching the first book of this series. I also knew that the last half of 2010 was going to be insane. And wow, was I right about that.

Which meant I needed to get the first draft finished as soon as possible so I could fit in the revision process where and when I could. Stress can have a huge impact on creativity, and I needed a good way to move past it. To get the words down. To finish that important first draft.

Which brings up one of the “National Novel Writing Month“-inspired groups. This one is in the month of July called “July Novel Writing Month” or JulNoWriMo for short. It is the same type of challenge: 50,000 words in 31 days.

I already had a deadline for the completed and revised manuscript, and JulNoWriMo gave me a good deadline for one step in that direction: the first draft.

So, during the month of June I plotted and planned like crazy. When July 1st came along I had the first three outlines ready to go. Along with hundreds of other writers I hit the keys and hit them hard.

Having the deadline helped me put other worries and concerns out of my head, allowing me to focus only on the words using the support and creative energy of everyone else working on the same challenge at the same time.

That is one of the great things about this type of challenge. You aren’t alone in writing like crazy. Others are doing it with you and at the same time as you.

The above paragraph is important for a lot of writer. Writing is an isolating activity. That isolation can become overwhelming at times. Doing something with a group can give a person the strength and focus to do things they might not otherwise be able to do.

With all that creative energy and informal support from so many other authors during that month, I knew I would win.

And I did.

At the seven day mark book 1 was finished. Book 2 finished ten days later. Before the month was out, book 3 was finished.

There is something exhilarating about reading “The End” of a first draft. While first drafts are not usually very pretty, at least the bare bones of the story are down. As long as there are words, there can be a revision to polish things up. There are no more blank pages. Words have conquered the white spaces.

Long live the words!

This illustrates something important for goal making and goal keeping. Having the final goal is all well and good, but it doesn’t do much good unless there are smaller goals along the way that help you get to the final goal. Having smaller goals along the way can help a person feel like they are making real headway, that they are succeeding. Writing a book can be a long process. Reaching a mid-point milestone can help keep an author from getting disheartened at the slow progress.

Deadlines and mini-deadlines can be a writer’s best friend. A way to motivate an author to take the smaller steps needed to finish a project and reach the ultimate goal.

First draft word counts:

Night of the Aurora (Book 1): 26560
Alien Winter (Book 2): 26399
The Singing Lakes (Book 3): 25533

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“The E-Book Experiment” chronicles the business and creative side of an experiment with the business opportunities new technology and creative outlets now afford content producers. Will it fail? Will it succeed? The only way to know is to approach it with a solid plan and try. No regrets!

I hope the details of this journey will be a help to other authors. As the process proceeds to selling the final products I will also share hard data that might be useful in the decision making process of other authors who recognize that only they can take charge of their careers. For a listing of all the posts in this series, please click here.

If you find this information useful or interesting, please encourage others to come on by and visit.

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