Should you set a deadline?

Back before the summer break, I gave myself a deadline to have most of the first draft of book three completed by the time my daughter went back to school.

I started with good intentions, and all was going well until…the inevitable spanner in the works came hurtling along.

Whenever I have given myself a deadline with this third book, something always crops up to sabotage my goal. This never happens when I am given a deadline by someone else, but me, when I set a goal, it often backfires.

Over the six-week holiday my daughter caught the Noro virus (which she kindly passed on to me – sharing is caring!) Actually, I shouldn’t joke, because we were both very ill – I actually lost 6 lbs in three days! Yes, a nasty stomach bug can have its benefits to the waistline, but I think 6 lbs in that short amount of time is pretty extreme.

I’ll spare you all the nasty details, but we were ill for over two weeks, and even after the worst of it had passed, I still felt awful and had no energy to get back to book three.

From now on I will not give myself a deadline. I seem to jinx it every time, and with the  How to Hook an Agent event coming up in a few weeks time, I hope to have more of book three completed, but if it’s not, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

I can’t help but wonder how many of you are the same? Do you ‘jinx’ your own progress? How to you tackle deadlines or do you refuse to set a target for yourself?

Let me know your thoughts and tips 🙂

4 thoughts on “Should you set a deadline?

  1. I’m not alone! That makes me feel better 😉

    I now just take each writing day as it comes, and don’t put too much pressure on myself…unless there is a deadline set by someone else of course – then there really are no excuses!

  2. I absolutely jinx my deadlines! Also, I’ve proven to myself that if I set some kind of daily word count goal, thinking I should just turn out word count even if it’s crap, I will succeed in producing crap. The only time a deadline is useful to me is during editing (when the publisher needs me to meet a deadline) or while preparing a book for self-publishing (otherwise I’ll talk myself out of doing it).

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  3. If I have a real deadline I’m great. A self imposed one I’m terrible! I think we can just keep promising ourselves to put our bums in the seat.

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