Dastardly Deadlines 10 Top Tips by Wendy H. Jones

I'm  a writer who's been living on the edge of her one remaining nerve for the past couple of months. The look of panic on my face, as deadlines came screaming towards me, was something to behold. Did you note the plural nature of my word choice? Not deadline, but deadlines. Somehow, I got through them all, and was able to take a deep breath and relax. What did I learn in the process? The answer is I learned a lot, hence the reason I am able to give you this sage advice regarding deadlines.  

1. Start early and give yourself time to do the task. Agreeing to write a 90,000 word novel by next week may seem like a good idea. Trust me, it aint. Full disclosure here, that's not what I did. It's an example. 

2. Keep a detailed planner of when to do what. This may sound simple but setting clear blocks of time for each project will help you manage your deadlines. 

3. Remember there are only 24 hours in the day. Filling up your diary with other projects or events will do nothing more than exhaust you.

4. Talking of exhaustion, you need to sleep. Pulling an all nighter to get a project finished and meet a deadline is never good. The quality of your work will suffer.

5. Focus on one project at a time. Use the block of time you have set out for that task, wisely. Leave the other projects to one side. If something pops into your mind, make a note. 

6. Jot down exactly what you're going to focus on in the time you have set aside. Knowing in advance prepares your brain and helps it to settle quickly.

7. Take a break between each project. Go for a walk, read a book, have a cup of tea. This will allow your brain to move from one project to the other. It needs time to replenish its energy and to catch up with what's ahead.

8. Give time for slippage and the unexpected. The saying 'life happens' is never truer than when a deadline is looming. Even if you take yourself off to live the hermit lifestyle to meet those deadlines, trust me something will turn up to stop you. 

9. Reward yourself. This doesn't have to be huge but give yourself something nice to work towards. Personally, buying a new book always works for me. 

10. I am going to emphasise something I've already said, you need to rest. Without rest your brain will be all over the place and will not play ball. If your brain switches off, you're scuppered. This is the most important tip of all.

I hope you've found this helpful. I am sure it is something all writers realise, however, having them set out like this can bring them home. Have a fantastic writing month and I'll see you back here next month. What's that you say? What was I working on? Of course.

Firstly, I launched my first book in my Cass Claymore Investigates series. Antiques and Alibis is a mad crime caper through Scotland with a redheaded, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina, who inherits a Private Detective Agency and accidentally hires an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. You can find out more on Amazon

I've also finished my second Young Adult Mystery, The Haunted Broch, which will be published on 28th September by Books to Treasure. Fergus and Flora are a couple of teens spending the summer on an archeological dig. This leads to some unexpected events, spooky goings on and a bucket full of fun. 

Pre-order isn't available for this as yet, but you can check out the first book, The Dagger's Curse.

The third deadline involved a wee water buffalo called Bertie, and his great escape from a buffalo farm in Scotland. This is based on a true story and the first picture book in the series, Bertie's Great Escape, will be published by Malcolm Down and Sarah Grace Publishing. I can't wait for this one.

It's been a wild ride and as you can imagine deadline management was crucial. 

Author Bio

Wendy H. Jones is an award-winning Scottish Crime Writer who lives and sets her books in Dundee, Scotland.She is also an International Public Speaker talking about writing and marketing.Killer’s Crew, the first book in her DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries was the Winner of the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2017. The Dagger’s Curse, the first book in her Young Adult mystery series, was a finalist in the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award 2017. She has signed a publishing contract with Malcolm Down and Sarah Grace Publishing for the first book in a children’s picture book series, based on a true story about a little Buffalo in Scotland. The first, Bertie’s Great Escapewill be released late October 2018. When she’s not writing, Wendy spends her time travelling the world. She is also President of the Scottish Association of Writers and co-founder of Crime at the Castle, a Scottish literary festival held at Glamis Castle Scotland 

Find out more


AliB said…
Well done Wendy - you made it! And your advice is very sound. I'm struggling with some smaller but still multiple deadlines and seem to do things in reverse - sorting out the things which are farther off so as to concentrate on the one that's getting more urgent all the time!
A. x
Wendy H. Jones said…
That’s a good tip as well. Thank you

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