I’m convinced deadlines are called DEADlines because they end up killing you. That said, they serve a purpose and without them, we’d probably procrastinate ourselves into some black hole of cat memes. While drifting aimlessly in oblivion does sound like a hoot, we won’t get to achieve our dreams by doing nothing. That doesn’t make it any easier to stick to deadlines, especially when they’re self-imposed. I’ve written about writing tools before, but this post contains tips on what to use and do in order to reach your deadlines.
Let’s Get Digital
In this day and age, there are plenty of apps to save your life as the deadline approaches. No matter what, finishing a draft or an edit is a lot of work and whether you’re published or not, it is up to you to do what needs to be done. And it may not be easy, but there are several tips and tricks to keep you on track, starting with the app Wunderlist, which is basically a to-do list on your phone. It looks clean and pretty and is easy to use. You can also set reminders to tasks. You can easily categorise between writing, work, groceries, etc. And it is easy to list the title of a novel as well and tick off all the chapters once you’ve written them.
If you’re an avid gamer then there’s also the Do it Now – RPG To Do List app that helps you be productive but in such a way that you’re an RPG character who needs to level up. The layout takes some getting used to, but it’s a very creative way to be productive.
With writing comes social media, the biggest temptress of all since it is entirely too enticing to talk about writing on Twitter instead of actually writing. That’s where RescueTime comes in and forces you to look at how much time you spend on your phone and what exactly you spend it on. It also allows you to set a timer to perform a certain task (for instance, writing) which you can afterwards rate in terms of productivity. The app helps you create better habits as well as forces you to realise how much you procrastinate when you should be playing with your characters. So we go from checklist apps to reality check apps.
Any excuse to buy notebooks! So instead of apps, you could also use a favourite pen and a cool notebook to write down your writing goals for the day and tick them off with a satisfying smirk. A fun bonus is that you can also use pretty highlighters. Just be sure to keep them safe from your pet dragons after using them. Dragons do love their highlighters.
Apart from tracking your goals to ensure your deadline is met, it also helps to stay inspired. Collect articles and/or pictures of authors who have been rejected and who now experience success, or simply authors you admire and respect. It can also be characters, novels, or images that simply inspire you to KEEP WRITING. The only way you keep finishing novels is by typing the words. You’ll be reminded of that everytime you look at your collection.
Do you have any tips on how to deal with deadlines…before they deal with you?