Give Yourself a Deadline

by Melanie Wilson
(St. Louis, MO)

My first self-published book

My first self-published book

I had wanted to write a full-length nonfiction book for years, but never did it. Why? Because I was too busy writing for deadlines that other people had given me.

Once God gave me a vision for the book, I set a deadline to have my printed book ready to sell at a women's retreat I was doing that was just four months away. That was my ultimate deadline. But I determined intermediate deadlines as well. I knew when I needed to order the proof and have the final copies shipped. I also estimated the time needed to have the book proofread by writing friends. With time allotted for my own editing, I then determined how many pages I needed to write each day to meet my deadline.

I met my goal and had my first proof in hand just three months after I began writing. The key seems to be (for me at least) having a deadline that is challenging enough to excite you, but not so close that you are overwhelmed. At one point, I thought about quitting because I wouldn't make the deadline, but my friends encouraged me to stick it out. I'm so glad I did! Not only did I experience a writer's dream of having women line up to buy my autographed book, but women were asking me to sign them when they saw me out shopping!

Give yourself a writing deadline and see it as even more important than deadlines others give you. Then assemble your cheering section (fellow writers make the best cheerleaders) and write. I wrote my book in the summer when I wasn't homeschooling (my primary career) and stayed up very late at night doing it. Because I was so passionate about the project and intent on meeting my deadline, I enjoyed every minute of it!

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