So this week I thought I'd just give a mention to that most awkward of things, the Deadline.
The first recorded use of the word Deadline refers to a boundary, shifting and insubstantial around the perimeter of a US Civil War era prison camp. It was so named because any prisoner crossing said line was shot dead.
Deadlines are an important part of being a writer, arguably they the most important thing. The ability to meet a Deadline often trumps actual talent. After all, its no good having the worlds greatest story if you don't get it to the publisher on time.
I struggle with Deadlines for a whole host of reasons. Primarily because I have a number of demands on my time which crowd and shout their way to the front of the line, shoving my poor writing timetable further and further out of phase.
The reason I have mentioned Deadlines is because I recently released the second part of my novel The Broken Lance. Now, although this happy little thing is currently scampering around the fields waiting for a happy reader to nab it (available for download on Kindle and Kindle friendly readers Here) it has been a while in coming.
Around six months in fact.
There are authors in the world today who can write, from scratch, a whole novel in the time it has taken me to get the second part of my serialized novel out. I know this as a fact because I follow/stalk a few of them and watched them progress from the early inception through to the final publishing and releasing of their novels before I'd gotten my Part II out.
Here's the fun bit though. Just because you have passed your original Deadline and it's now receding into the distance is no reason to give up, especially if you are self publishing. Where a lot of prospective writers I have met tend to fall down is the hopeless catch up cycle.
Writer- Dear fans, I will release my new novel on the 45th of Marvember 986.
Wrtier- Dear fans, due to life getting in the way I will now be releasing my new novel on the 33rd of Septober 987.
Writer- What the hell am I doing!? I'll never get this done! I'm only half way through and I've moved the deadline twice already! aaaaargh! Screw it! I give up!
Admittedly this is a slightly flippant example but you get the idea.
When setting yourself a Deadline or target of any sort, you need to know you can hit it. There is no point in flogging yourself to death and neglecting your life. You will suffer, your life will suffer and (most applicable to us, your readers) your work will suffer.
Your readers will appreciate a well written novel which is released a little later much more than a hurried rush job which doesn't do your idea justice.
So, be realistic. If you know you can write a thousand good words a day three times a week without fail, great! Work around that. If you can only write two hundred goods words a week, fine! Work around that! Just work to your own pace, and leave plenty of time for editing!
When in doubt, look to the leaders in the fantasy genre, two or three year gaps are not uncommon!
And also, you can get involved with various groups who can help you up your average word count and hit targets. With November rapidly bearing down on us I would suggest looking into Nanowrimo. Or National Writers Month. You get thirty days to churn out as much of your novel as you can as well as the chance to meet other upcoming writers in your area who can give you some tips and help you with any tricky plot points and vice versa.
So, having said all that, what are you waiting for? Get typing people!