7 Steps to Procrastinate Less and Meet Your Writing Deadlines
As a writer who wants to be taken seriously, it is important to always meet your deadlines. Always, always, always deliver your articles on time. Don’t be late, ever. Here are seven steps to help you procrastinate less and meet your writing deadlines, counting down from seven.
7 Steps to Miss Your Writing Deadline
Day 7. Write the deadline down in your planner. Writing down the day your article is due will let you know exactly how many days you have until your story is due. For this example, you have one week until the deadline. Because you have one whole week, you don’t have to start yet, because you still have tomorrow to start. There is a lot of time before the story is due, so don’t worry about starting the story yet.
Day 6. Think about what you are going to write about. Think about your article while you wash dishes, rearrange all the furniture in the house, and while you take everything out of your pantry. Label all of your canned goods and put them back in alphabetical order. You don’t have to write anything yet, you still have six days left. Just think about your story.
Day 5. Watch eight episodes of your favorite television show in one sitting. Consider this research. You still have five days left, so you don’t have to worry about starting your story yet. You still have tomorrow.
Day 4. Look at your calendar and your deadline. You still have four days so don’t write your rough draft yet, go and take a nap and dream about writing. Don’t do any research, or gather any material, you can research tomorrow.
Day 3. Go to the store and buy a new notebook. You will feel like you are being productive, and you might be able to find a notebook that coordinates with your socks. You still have three days left, you can always write your story tomorrow, in your new notebook.
Day 2. Clean our your refrigerator and scrub all of your toilets. Your story is due tomorrow morning by 9:00. It is the night before your deadline. Instead of writing during the day, clean your refrigerator and scrub your toilets. Having a clean refrigerator and clean toilets will help you focus on writing your first draft later that evening.
After supper, watch another episode of your favorite television show. Don’t let a deadline keep you from watching your favorite actor. And how can you concentrate on writing if your don’t know if Arrow will be able to save his sister Thea from the leader of The League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul. (Don’t tell me, I am still on season three.)
It is about ten in the evening now, the night before your story is due.
Write your rough draft. Now. Write your story now. You have no choice. You have to write, because you will never miss a deadline. After you write your rough draft, take a nap on the sofa with your cat. Around midnight, or three in the morning when you wake up, edit your story.
Day 1. Today is the day your story is due. When you wake up from your nap with your cat at four in the morning, consider sending your editor an email and tell them you quit. Say, “I can’t do this anymore. I am not a writer. I don’t know anything about writing.” Cry into your pillow.
Then check for spelling mistakes and submit your story to your editor. You beat your deadline by five hours. A win.
After you submit your story to your editor write down your next deadline. Then, take a nap, you still have six more days until the next story is due.
Is there a better way?
7 Steps to Approach a Writing Deadline Without Writing all Night the Night Before.
How can a writer actually get a story done early? So they are not typing late into the night the day before their story is due?
Day 7. Write the deadline down in your planner. Block out time for the next five days and schedule when you are going to write. And do what you say. If you block out writing from ten to eleven on Monday. Then write from ten to eleven. Sit in your chair and write.
If your friend asks you to go for coffee on Monday at ten say, “No, I have something scheduled then.” You are a writer. Don’t give away your writing time. Even if you write from home. You can schedule your time.
Day 6. Think about what you are going to write about. Gather material for your article. Research on-line, or go to the Library to get material. Then read the material you gather.
Day 5. Do not watch eight episodes of your favorite television show in one sitting. Today you will write your rough draft. Rough as in you are getting your ideas down. Sit in your chair, or at your standing desk and write. Write. Write. Don’t edit. Just write. After you get your rough draft written you may watch one episode of your favorite television show. Not eight. Now go to bed and get a good nights sleep.
Day 4. Look at your calendar and your deadline. Today you will edit your rough draft. Read your rough draft out loud and re-write any sentences that need work. Does your opening sentence make it clear to the reader what they will learn in the article? After you edit your story you may take a nap. But, not before. Edit and then nap.
Day 3. Re-read your story and make any final edits. Submit your article to your editor. Ask for feedback. Submitting early is better than submitting your story “just in time.” When you submit your article early you give your editor time to make suggestions on ways for you to improve your writing.
Day 2. Make the corrections your editor suggested. Re-submit your story after you re-write your article based on the feedback your editor gave you. Now you can watch another episode of Arrow, go shopping for a new notebook to match your socks, clean your refrigerator and your toilets, or take a nap.
Day 1. You can go to bed early. Your story has already been submitted. You can have a good nights sleep or watch eight episodes of your favorite television show. You made your deadline.
After you submit your story to your editor write down your next deadline. Block out time for the next five days and schedule when you are going to write.
How do you deal with writing deadlines? Do you write the night before or do you submit your writing days before the deadline? Let me know in the comments section.
For the rest of this week, schedule a specific time to write. Then come back here in a few days, and share in the comments if having a scheduled time to write helped you actually write.
For today’s practice. Write for fifteen minutes about a writer who keeps putting off writing. What will the writer do instead of write? Walk the dog? Clean the seven litter boxes?
Or write for fifteen minutes on your current writing project.
As always, I love to read your writing.
About Pamela Hodges
Pamela Hodges is a writer and an artist who lives in Pennsylvania with one husband, two children, three cats, two dogs, and seven litter boxes. If you would like to read more of Pamela's writing, check out her blog, where she writes about art, creativity, and reflections on life with cat barf. She would love to meet you at ipaintiwrite.com.