Tag Archives: Deadline

I’ve Done it! I’ve Finally Killed Time!

thWe live by the clock. We have watches, cell phones with clocks, clocks on the wall, reminders and even annoying little beeping sounds that come from our computers reminding us of the time. It’s enough to drive you a little nuts. I myself tend to over compensate for time and deadlines. I am a “scheduler”…one of those people who try to schedule out my time so that I am spending time on many projects instead of getting mired down on one. I like to think that doing this keeps me sane but lately I have been wondering if I am doing myself more harm than good.

I had a writer friend tell me that other day that she killed her clock. When I laughed she said, “no, really, I did…I killed it”. When I pushed for an explanation she told me that she had decided to try to write at least one day a week with no time constraints. She would get up on a designated morning and just work on whatever came to mind. She told me that on that first day she did better writing than she had in almost a year. She explained that without the time constraints she didn’t feel anxious but instead felt free to do what she wanted to do. She just let it flow and when it did, it was beautiful.

She did go on to explain that she only did this new “dead time” writing once a week because she still had other projects to take care of that did require deadlines but for at least one day a week she now has her “dead time” writing. I had to try it so yesterday I did and you know what….it works!

I spent the day on a project that I had a deep passion for and I didn’t worry about anything else the entire day. Like my friend I discovered that this “dead time” writing was a God-send. I did some of the best work on that project and when the day was over I felt…well…not to sound corny but…fulfilled.

I now have that “dead time” on my calendar at least one day each week. I think that it is really going to help me regroup and get reoriented to my work. Let’s be honest, the ideal writer’s life would be one project at a time with enough money in the bank to keep buying food while you work…sadly…it doesn’t work that way and our Great American Novel is sustained on a million freelance jobs that require…well…scheduling.

I challenge you my writing friends to give “dead time” writing a chance. Let me know by posting here how it works for you. Maybe, just maybe, we have a small movement on our hands!

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on February 2, 2023 in Writing, Writing Tools


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Time to Start Again….Oh BS!


New Year, new start…that’s what you will hear everyone say for the next few weeks; it’s annoying. Yes, it’s a new year….and yes; many of us will begin new projects however, that doesn’t mean that you have to begin all over again. That feeling that you are stealing time if you continue with the 2014 work is bumpkiss….

We seem to associate the New Year with new beginnings in such a way that we often kill ourselves trying to hit the mark. We rush through the last project of 2014 thinking that we are somehow a failure if we are not beginning a new project in 2014. The problem with doing this is that we tend to miss important aspects of the rushed project. Writing is not meant to be rushed.

For me I try not to think in terms of time when it comes to my writing. I do set soft deadlines but I never rush one work to begin another. It’s like putting your pants on before your underwear is pulled up…awkward….
So before you jump into that 2015 project take a moment of revisit the 2014 one and make sure that you have not rushed it through.

Our words, our stories are too important to be slashed and burned in the name of time. Slow down and see 2015 for what it is…a continuation of life and more time to write.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on January 6, 2023 in Writing


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Deadlines - Deadlines - Deadlines

deadlinesI apologize, I have been on a massive deadline and so I am three days behind on this blog. I promise to catch up today now that the deadline has passed. Deadlines…you gotta love them….

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Posted by on January 13, 2023 in Writing


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It Should Take as Long as It Does…………….

When I do book signings I am asked the same series of questions over and over. Some questions are annoying, like “where do you get your ideas” (I pray to the Idea God and he shoves them up my bum whilst I sleep) and “wouldn’t you rather be a garbage man” (some days). Some questions are deep, like, “do you put a bit of yourself into all your characters” (yes but only the good parts – sly smile-) and “would you like your writing to change the world” (yes….I would like to write something that makes us all less of an a*% when we first wake up in the morning) There is one question though that makes me feel sorry for the people who ask it….especially if they claim to be writers (and almost all folks who come to book signings are), the question is, “how long should I take to write a book”….This questions garners that look from me…that look that I would give a squashed puppy on the roadway…the one that says, “awwwww….poor thing….”

If you have to ask the question (seriously) about how long it should take you to write your book, you simply don’t understand the art of telling a story. How long should it take? Really? Well how long would it take you to tell your whole story? Now before you all jump my oversized behind…let me clarify….you CAN ask how long should it take to edit. At the point of editing your story is done, told, complete-a-mundo! The editing process should have a timetable. But the writing….well the writing is art; it’s that thing that you have to do in your own time. You don’t rush a story because then it reads that way and if you are attempting to write “on schedule” well, your story will read like a list of things your characters did. You must TELL your story and that, my friends, takes time.

It took me a year to finish my first book, 7 months to finish the second one (it was a sequel) and 2 ½ years for the third. As I mention in a previous column, I’ve been working one one story for over 20 years…my point? Every story has its own timetable. Your story has to be told, not just written. To put an original work on a deadline…well…that’s just not right. One of the things I often hear from writers who are on book contract (i.e. has a contract with a publisher to complete so many books in so much time) is that they feel boxed in by the contract. It’s like being at the zoo…as long as the lion is behind the bars, you are fine, walking along…enjoying yourself. But let that lion out of the cage and it’s every man for himself….deadline your work and you might as well throw it to a lion….your sense of desperation is going to tear it up anyway.

So when you are planning for your next novel…put the clock in a drawer. Some things you just can’t deadline and telling a story is one of those things. This is not to say that you should take 20 years to write your next novel but….if that’s the time you need in which to tell your story as truthfully as possible, and then by all means take it. In the end, it’s not the time it took you to write it, it’s all about the quality….it’s all about how well you told your story, and that, my fellow writers, cannot be clocked.



© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on June 20, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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Meet Mr. Deadline………

Deadlines…the bane of a writer’s existence. We all set them and we all live by them. To be honest, deadlines are the only true way to accomplish anything as a writer. Let’s face it, writing is one of those jobs where you must police yourself as far as time devoted to the craft and in this regard, the deadline is your friend.

The politically correct word these days is “goal” but how many of you are really buying the new pretty dress put on the good ol’ deadlines subtle frame? I’m not. I set “goals” when I want to race myself to the finish of a page but the deadline…well, he’s the guy who sits up with me at night while I’m stressing. He’s the guy who reminds me that I have to finish the book I’m working on instead of “setting a goal” to finish it. When you set a goal, you have a sort of choice. A goal is something you are working at. A deadline is just that, dead, not interchangeable, final, no more second chances.

If you are going to be a writer you have to make nice with Mr. Deadline and welcome him to the table. It is wildly easy to do other things instead of write. Yesterday was a good example of a day without deadline looking over my shoulder.  I did laundry, I swept the kitchen, I watched a rerun of Supernatural. I rearranged my desk. It was 3:30 p.m. before I realized that Mr. Procrastination had come to visit and I was avoiding writing all together. Then something happened…at 3:35 one of the magazine publishers I work with called to tell me he needs some of my stuff by Monday. Bam! Just like that, deadline was back, and the clock was ticking once more. I was suddenly back at my desk, and although I whined for the first half hour, I started writing again. Mr. Deadline gets me back on track every time.

So whether you set your own deadlines or you have a publisher, agent, editor, or even a spouse who sets them for you, make nice with them…you need those deadlines to be a writer. It’s the Universe’s way of setting you up for success and it’s a necessary evil in the whole writing process. Set goals if you feel you need to but in order to get the real work done, stamp deadline across the box holding your manuscript and set a date. It’s a necessary step in finishing AND…it’ll get you out of doing the laundry!


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



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