Home Writing Tips Guest Blog: The Dreaded Deadline: Setting personal deadlines for writing.

Guest Blog: The Dreaded Deadline: Setting personal deadlines for writing.


Deadlines are a necessary part of life, for everyone.  In my career, I’ve always embraced deadlines because I thrive under pressure.  As a writer?  Not so much.  Even so, they are a necessary evil.

Finding a balance between word, home, and writing hasn’t been easy.  In fact, it’s pretty overwhelming at times.  Even when work is a breeze, my personal life may be off.  Or when home is stable, work is a beast.  And trying to find time to write, somehow, seems to fall of the radar.  That’s why I have to set deadlines for myself.

Sitting down to write Basement Level Five: Never Scared, I was able to add word count fairly quickly at the beginning.  Then the unthinkable happened—writer’s block.  I stared at the same page for… three months.  A friend of mine came to me and asked about my progress and I made every excuse in the book for why I hadn’t been able to write anything in three months: bad day at work, sick kid, ill mother, annoying hubby, side job… the list went on and on.  This same friend (and I love her dearly for this) then issued a challenge—finish the book by December 31, 2010 (It was June 2010).  I accepted the challenge, prayed to my muse, and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, 2010 ended and my deadline passed me by which was heartbreaking because I’d made so much progress.  Instead of stopping, though, I set my own deadline—January 31, 2011.  AND this was the deadline I actually met.  I had accomplished my goal—sort of.  Since then, I’ve realized that deadlines—while daunting—are necessary for me.  And setting personal deadlines for my writing helped when Black Opal contracted the book and set professional deadlines for me.

My trick to setting deadlines is not to set a specific word count per day goal for myself because that just doesn’t work.  I like to circle a date in the future and tie it in to another important event or significant date.  For instance, I’m planning on attending RT Con this April and I’ve given myself that deadline for completing my latest WIP (work in progress).  I also put a star around my birthday, signaling an editing deadline for another work in progress.

Some things to remember when setting personal deadlines are: (1) Be realistic—don’t set an impossible deadline, (2) Prioritize, (3) Don’t neglect other responsibilities—make sure your kids are fed, your house is clean, and other work is done first, and (4) Take care of yourself—get plenty of sleep, exercise, and have fun.  The rest, hopefully, will fall into place.

Basement Level Five: Never Scared will be released April 28, 2012.

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Blurb:  Alexa Martinez was raised to believe that murder, deceit, and lies were a part of life. A trained killer, she follows in her father’s footsteps, specializing in political assassinations for Martinez Security—contracted through the CIA. She thrives on the power, money, respect, and—most of all—the adrenaline rush.

Despite the danger associated with her profession, Alexa strives to give her children a normal life. But when her past catches up with her, they become pawns in a deadly game of revenge. Operating from a secret base five levels below ground, Alexa struggles to unravel the puzzle, uncovering secrets that will alter their lives forever. Now she must make a choice—is she willing to die to give her children a life outside the bullet proof glass?

About L. R. Wright:  I’m a devoted wife of many years and mother to 3 wonderful children who inspire and motivate me to follow my dreams.  In addition to writing, I love romance novels, fine wine, and hanging out with my friends and family.  I crunch numbers for a living, and plan events for fun.

Website:  www.thebasementlevelfive.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeslieWrightAuthor

Twitter: @LWrightAuthor


  1. Great post, Leslie. Good suggestions. I really need to be able to make deadlines for writing and stick to them! I'll try your trick of tying it to another event because that X number of words a day just doesn't work for me – yet!

  2. Empi, I've never been able to do the X amount of words a day. That's why I have to be creative. It's been working for me though.

  3. Empi,_I'm totally with you on this. Brandon Boyd (the lead singer of Incubus) once said that you should do something creative at least once a day and I try to stay true to that. Setting goals and deadlines for yourself is the only way to get things done so I'm high-fiving you right now!!! Awesome blog!


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