Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deadlines: Self-Imposed and Self-Fulfilled

While working at home and writing full-time, setting realistic, doable deadlines is key.

Factors to consider when taking out a calendar to set a completion date for writing activities and drafts include estimates as follows (my own timelines are included in parenthesis):
  • Plotting/Characterization Phase (<1 week)
  • First Draft (4 to 6 weeks, with daily goal of 1 Chapter per day for 5 to 7 Chapters per week)
  • Rewrite/Final Drafting (Estimate 4 to 6 weeks)
Overall, this schedule projects nine (9) to thirteen (13) weeks per book from beginning to completion. (As I progress, I will be able to adjust and tighten the schedule based on realistic production, rather than guesstimates or estimates.)

First off, please note that I am not including time-frames for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. drafts. To write for a living, producing a strong enough first draft so that continual drafting isn't required is imperative, which is why a ramrod get-the-draft-out lightning draft effort does not work for me. Also, I will be experimenting with coordinating multiple tasks, such as first drafting one book in the morning while editing the previous book in the afternoon.

Taking years to compete a first draft, with additional years to redraft, is not practical for me, because my overall goal is to write for a living. Setting self-imposed deadlines will allow me the opportunity to actually complete a five-book series within a six (6) to seven (7) month time-frame.

Deadlines for this series includes completion of books within these estimated months:
  •  November, Book #1, First Draft
  •  December, Book #1, Final Draft
  •  December, Book #2, First Draft
  • January, Book #2, Final Draft
  •  January, Book #3, First Draft

As I go along, I will need to reassess realistic production times, and will adjust completion deadlines accordingly. A white board dry-erase wall calendar helps me to "see" what deadlines are ahead and to gauge how close I am to meeting and fulfilling those deadlines.

My writing deadlines are self-imposed, which makes the results of my efforts and the meeting of those deadlines self-fulfilled. As a writer who's goal is to write books and make a living doing the same, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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