First Draft? Check.

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Today, I finished the first draft of my current novel. I could wax eloquent about how it’s been quite a struggle and I fought my way through to glory and blah, blah, blah, but honestly, I know how much work is ahead of me in revision, so I’ll spare you the victory dance. Instead, I’ll just make this face:

photofinish

Yes, I am excited. I started this draft in earnest the first week of December and I’ve worked steadily since that time to get it done. I finished four days after the original deadline I set myself.

Now, I have another deadline ahead of me: May 31. This is the day I want to complete revisions and ship this baby. Will I make it? I intend to, and saying it out loud(or writing it out loud, whatever) certainly adds a weight of accountability.

On that note, don’t shy away from setting deadlines for yourself as a writer. Why?

1) There’s a visible completion point. Chances are, you’ll be more likely to stay committed if there’s a sunset to it, even if it’s a momentary sunset (like mine today). There’s nothing worse than working on into infinity with no real sense of imminent completion.

2) You’re practicing for the writer’s reality. If you’re paid for your writing, you almost always work with a deadline. Why not practice putting the heat on yourself before someone else is doing it for you?

3) You’re able to measure your progress. I may be nerdy that way, but I love breaking stuff up and being able to see success one completed chunk at a time.

Joe Bunting has a great article about finishing writing projects through deadlines here at The Write Practice if you’re interested. Great stuff!

How have you achieved success in your writing through deadlines? Feel free to share in the comments!

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