I had some exciting news recently. The third Dr Ribero book (The Case of the Hidden Daemon) is going to be released a lot earlier than I thought it would be. Try four months, to be precise.
It was great to hear (especially as it coincides with Halloween, mwah-ha-ha). However, it squeezes the deadline for the fourth book. And my word, the fourth book is taking me some time to write!
Accepting the Deadline
I’m a dab hand at hitting deadlines. I’ve been working as a copywriter for several years, so I know all about delivering work to a specified date. In short, muck it up and you’re out of a job – it’s as simple as that.
As such, I feel well qualified to share some words of wisdom if you’re struggling with writing to a specified timeline. First up, I’d say it’s important to recognise the deadline. Write it on your calendar. Put it on a poster then stick it somewhere prominent. Get a t-shirt printed with the date. Whatever works for you. But above all else, acknowledge and accept that it’s that date you have to hit.
Meeting the Deadline – Some Tips
Here are a few other things I’d recommend:
- Breaking the project into milestones. Realising you have to write 90k words is intimidating. That’s one big mountain to climb! Instead, break it into manageable chunks. I currently set myself the milestone of 5,000 words a week (ideally 1,000 a day). Work with what suits you.
- Reward yourself. Yes, I appreciate that the enjoyment of writing should be enough. But sometimes it isn’t. I fully admit it, I’m motivated by ‘treats’. Throughout the day, you might hear me mutter:
- “Five hundred more words, then I’m going to have a cup of tea.”
- “Get to 750 words, and it’s time for a biscuit.”
- At 250 words, I’m going to have a quick stroll to the local shop for a breath of fresh air.”
And so on. You get the idea.
- Don’t punish yourself. Don’t get disillusioned if you don’t hit your target for the week. It happens to everyone from time to time. A few weeks back, my son had to go to hospital and as such, I hardly wrote anything at all. But these things happen – some things in life are more important, and it’s always vital to keep that in mind. Writing should be fun, not painful or stressful.
- Tell other people. There’s something about saying the words aloud that makes them more of a commitment. If you tell friends and family that you’ll finish the book by the end of the summer, then you’ve officially made a declaration of intent – and you’ll be more likely to stick to it!
- Take it seriously. If you’re serious about writing, adopt a professional approach. Don’t feel like a phoney doing this – it doesn’t matter if you’ve had loads of books published or are just starting out. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re putting words on paper, you’re a writer. And if you love writing and want to get your words out there, I’d recommend taking it seriously. You go for it!
- Prioritise your writing. Sometimes, you’ll need to do other stuff. Boy, do I know the feeling. I’ve got two kids, a mad cat, a house that seems to gather dust by the second, plus loads of awesome friends and family that I like hanging out with. All those things inevitably take me away from my writing at times – and that’s okay!
However, I make sure that I create a sacrosanct ‘writing time’ each day – a period where I write without interruption. Having kids at school helps here; all you parents still looking after children at home, it’s tough trying to find time. I used to write my novels on my phone while breastfeeding my kids as babies – I remember what it was like only too well. Keep trying to find that time, though. It’s worth it in the long-run.
- Positive thinking. Don’t be defeatist. You can do it. It may seem like a behemoth of a task, but you can achieve it. Why? Because you want to make it happen for yourself. Your writing destiny is in your hands – you’ve got the power to grab it.
The Case of the Hidden Daemon, book three in the Dr Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural series, will be coming out in October 2018. As for book four? I’d better get my skates on and hit that deadline to get it in (wish me luck)!