Novel Progress #2 (On Deadlines)


It was very difficult making the time to sit down and write or even think about my story this past week, which might not be a surprise if you read my Week in Rewind #1, in which I talk about everything I did last week. My biggest personal priority was finishing a dense novel (Six of Crows) I had to return to the library last Friday that I had barely even started. Which gave me a book hangover because IT WAS AMAZING! Then I was preoccupied with homework I was trying to get done early so that I could focus entirely upon my first presentation of the semester.

Despite my busy-ness, I had decided writing would be a priority this year. So I managed to make sure I was thinking about my story throughout the week and did a little bit of work on it here and there. And I did in fact manage to start writing some real words too; words I will not try not delete until I reach the editing stage.

In this post, as I don’t have much progress to share, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on writing deadlines and the specific deadline I have given myself to complete the first draft of EMatST.


In my experience, setting myself deadlines could be either really motivating or really soul-crushing. I think which way the deadline ultimately ends up affecting me has depended on how determined I am when I first set my deadline. This January I realized how serious I am about my goal to write a novel this year, so I’ve decided to up the ante and set myself a deadline for when I’d like to complete my first draft.

What’s the hurry? You might be wondering. Well, I don’t really have the best reason. I just feel like everyone around me is editing and I want to get to that stage too! It seems like a lot more fun. And I feel like if I don’t push myself, I’ll never stop worrying about getting every little detail right. I’ve already noticed myself beginning to procrastinate from actual writing by telling myself I need to figure out more story specifics first. But I’ve realized that not knowing everything yet doesn’t mean I shouldn’t start writing yet.

It’s very disheartening reading advice from published authors that often major chunks of their first drafts get cut out completely. It should be a bit freeing. But for me it is daunting and has led to a tendency for me to put off writing in the hopes if I know more about the story from the outset less words will be useless in the end.

Anyway, so I decided to set myself a deadline of:

April 1st

That gives me two months to complete my first draft of EMatST. I don’t know how many words that will be, but I’m hoping it will mean more than 50,000. I thought about trying to pretending February is NaNoWriMo (NaFeWriMo ^_^), but I realized I’m not in such a rush to finish this novel that I’m willing to potentially sacrifice my performance in school. So two months seems like it should be more than enough time if I remain diligent.

End Note

I hope to have more to share about my novel’s progress in next week’s Novel Progress installment. I have an impending deadline to create my first Multimedia Portfolio piece on the 15th, so I might share something about that next week as well. In the meanwhile, I hope you found this post helpful in thinking about deadlines and whether they might be right for you, now or in the future.

I’d like to do more of these conversation-based writing posts in the future. If you have a topic idea you’d like me to explore and report back on, let me know in the comments! Also let me know whether you’ve found success or failure in setting yourself writing deadlines.

Thank you for reading!
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  1. I’m staring a deadline in the face and it’s really daunting, partially because I was really thrown for a loop last week (thank you, cold that won’t go away). I’m caught up enough on homework that I think I’ll be okay, but I still find it a bit nerve-wracking. So much to write before Friday. –Personally, I find small deadlines more effective than big ones, because I know how much I tend to procrastinate; a big deadline would have me writing the whole thing in the week before it was due, rather than doing homework, eating, sleeping and the like, and then not even getting it done. Small deadlines tend to work rather well to hold me accountable on a step-by-step basis. Have you noticed a difference for you in that?

    1. Unexpected illnesses are the worst. Getting a sinus infection at the beginning of November (& procrastinating on seeing a doctor) ruined NaNoWriMo for me last year!

      I think you bring up a good point about differentiating between big and small deadlines. Small deadlines can be a lot more satisfying. I actually have a calendar with small boxes on each day I can tick off if I’ve met my word count goal (I also have one for days I’ve worked out).

      So I guess I do technically have small deadlines leading up to April 1st as it is. My big deadlines imply that there are smaller deadlines leading up to them.

      I hope you’re able to get better and get your writing mojo on! I know you have been working hard on your novel and it’s going to be so satisfying to see that resulting product!

  2. Pingback: April Blog Plans!

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