Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let's get technical... Writing under a deadline. Stress or sanity? #writemotivation #allthewords

Today's post brought to you by Karen (Social Media Liaison) and caffeine. Happy writing!

So you think you can write? Yes? Me too. Mix in the day job, family, friends, social life (what's that, right?), and just plain old day-to-day living and things seem--erm, a bit hectic. And still, writing somehow happens. Now, an exciting opportunity comes your way and suddenly *cues dramatic music* a deadline stares you in the face. Eep!

You're totally stoked but also slightly--yeah, okay, definitely--terrified. All the words must be written by a certain date. For someone like me, a pantser who occasionally tosses in a timeline or rough one-chapter-ahead outline just for kicks and giggles, this is that moment. That moment where the stuff gets uber serious and meeting those daily word counts is more than something I'd like to do...it's something I must do.

My current deadline project is for an anthology. The actual deadline is December; however, my self-imposed deadline is the first week of November because I want to have time to thoroughly revise and edit.

Now, let's get technical... How do you realistically make a deadline work while still living life? Excellent question!

#1 How long does the manuscript (MS) need to be? When is it due?

After you've determined these two things, you can make a daily word count (WC) goal. My MS is 15k words (approximately 60 pages), and I gave myself 30 days to complete it. This means a minimum of 500 words a day must be written.

#2 How do you find time to write? 

This is a tough one! For me I either write before my day job or on my lunch break. There have been days when neither of those times worked out, so I visited a local coffee shop on my way home from work and didn't leave until those words were on the page.

#3 To outline or not to outline...that is the question. 

As I've confessed, I'm a pantser by nature. ;) For this particular project, I've found that a loose outline is helpful. I sort of knew how I wanted it to begin. I definitely knew three chapters would deal with wishes--because this is a djinn story. And I'm fairly certain how I want it to end, as long as the characters don't do something cray cray. If you feel a tighter outline would be helpful, then go for it! Also, Michael Hauge has a fantastic plot structure that I either use or consult for every story I write.

#4 Just write. 

It's a simple and as mind-blowingly (I'm a rebel, I take liberties with words :P) difficult as that. I have to constantly remind myself of this, but don't edit as you write. Spelling, eye color, names...all of those things can be fixed later. The important thing--especially while writing under a deadline--is to make sure words are being typed onto the page.

#5 Annihilate distractions. 

Yeah, so, erm, this is an extremely difficult one for me. I'm so easily-- Ooo, shiny thing! 
Turn off the social medias. Stop checking email. Don't watch TV. And one that almost sends me into a tailspin...turn off the cellphone. It's not forever! Just for a certain allotted amount of time. Even if it's only thirty minutes. Every. Minute. Counts.

#6 Roadblocks in the Muse's fast-lane. 

Yup, they happen...to everyone, even if they don't talk about it. Something I have recently started doing: using the <insert thing here>. Get your mind out of the gutter! :P What I mean is, if I can't figure out a specific and it's really bothering me, I'll use a placeholder and come back to it later. I've got several of these in my current work-in-progress (WIP).

How about you? Are you writing under a deadline? Have you? What's your secret? Share it in the comments! We'd love to know.

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