For the past week, I’ve been reading different articles or snippets that talk about deadlines for authors and it got me thinking. How did they manage to make their deadlines? Was it a matter of working best under pressure? Did they just have the skill of super perseverance? Were they born with the ability to churn out thousands of words every fifteen minutes? Or maybe they’re all aliens from another planet and the rest of us should just give up now.
What I found was that each author had different techniques. Some had ‘writing days’ and literally sat at their computers to write for a pre-determined number of hours. Some wrote at night or whenever they could find the time. Others reported waiting until the pressure was the greatest and then writing under a haze of pure panic. The only common thread was that in the end they got the job done. Something else I noted? Many reported that it probably took them much longer to write their first books.
Now, at the end of this all, I had a lot to consider. What does all of this mean for the inspiring writer? For people like me, who love reading and writing but can’t seem to finish their own work. To be completely honest, I started to feel a little down after I’d been thinking about it for a while. I have a Work-In-Progress and so far all I’ve really done is think about it. Now thinking’s a good thing but I felt like I was falling into a rut again. It’s the kind of rut where I’d be constantly considering my story and running through tons of different scenarios but never actually writing anything.
At some point, inspiration struck. Deadlines were goals for the author weren’t they? So why didn’t I set some for myself? Now, I was being oddly realistic with myself and I realised setting some huge deadline could be a complete waste of time. So instead I decided on a much smaller and definitely achievable goal. I decided there and then that I’d write one thousand words every week. Yes, one thousand words. That’s about two pages in any word document, right? Not only does it seem achievable, but words accumulate. If I keep this up for year, I’d have fifty-two thousand words! That’s a book, right there. Nice right?
Small goals, mini-deadlines of a sort; is this the way to go? Well, I happen to think so. If not, why are we expected to walk first before we run? We need to take small steps first, before we can manage the bigger ones. Some of you might shake your head and try to keep churning out as much as you can, every day. That’s great if it works for you but not everyone can do that without burning out. So what do you guys say? Do you want to move toward your goal, step-by-step, if that’s what it takes? I do.
K, the Popinjay.