Book Plan: DEADLINE & CONSEQUENCES
We're going to talk about deadlines and consequences, which are one of my favorite things. I get really excited when we talk about deadlines. So this is page nine.
And that's what we're going to be talking about. There's a great quote when it comes to deadlines in the writing world, you'll see it every once in a while on Instagram or in Facebook groups with writers:
” I love deadlines. I love the sound they make when they go by.”
And I think we can all relate to that, right? Where we set a deadline for something, maybe it's something related to your writing. Maybe it's something else and you tried your best to meet that deadline. And then all of a sudden the deadline was past you and you were moving on maybe with a clear conscience, maybe not.
Right. Has anyone here missed a deadline before? It's definitely true for me. I've missed so many deadlines in my life, which is very embarrassing. This is one of the reason why The Write Plan Planner exists. Why100 Day Book exists? I think a lot of times we teach what we're worst at.
And I am not good at deadlines. I was the kid in middle school and even high school who was very frequently not turning in my homework on time who would finish half my homework and then turn it in. You know, deadlines, I'm not so great at them. But I do think that they can be so important and especially for finishing your book, I see a lot of people are there with me in the chat, missing some deadlines.
So this is how we don't miss deadlines. That's what I want to talk about right now, how we can set a deadline, especially for your book and actually hit that deadline, actually make that deadline happen. Okay. So my story from this is I was working on crowdsourcing Paris.
This was about five years ago. And by this point, I was already a professional writer. I had been a full-time writer for over two, almost three years. And I had written like four and almost five books. And I thought, I sort of knew what I was doing. I felt pretty confident in myself.
You know, I had finally accomplished this dream that I had as a kid of becoming a professional writer, but there was one problem. I had this book that I had been working on for a long time, that I had actually promised people that I would write and I was not doing so well.
In fact, I had tried to write this book and tried to work on it again and again and again, and I was not making a lot of progress. Let's just say I had about half of the first draft and I was telling my friend. I was at his house and he was asking me, what are you going to do about that book?
You got to finish that book. And he said, yeah, I'm working on it. I'm, you know, I have a deadline. It's going to be great. I'm making progress, but it's hard. You know, writing is hard, you know, just this things that you say to other writers and he's looked at me and he said, you know, if you really want to finish that book, you need to write a check for a thousand dollars and write it out to someone you don't like, and then give it to a friend and say, Hey, you have to send this. If I don't finish book if you know, you have to write your book or something really bad will happen. Would you finish it? And then I said, Oh yeah,
And he's like, okay, do this thing, write the check. And I thought, ah, that's no, that's kind of gimmicky. I can do this. I'm a pro I've got it. And then a month went by and I hadn't made any progress. And another friend asked me, Hey, whatever happened to your book?
And I'm like, Oh, I need help.
So I wrote a check for a thousand dollars. This was in 2015, 2016. It was during the presidential race in 2016. I wrote a thousand dollar check to the presidential candidate. I most disliked that person is going to remain nameless but I wrote the check and I gave it to a friend and I said, Hey, you have to send this check if I don't finish my book by this date. It was about nine weeks away.
Let me tell you, I was the most focused I've ever been in my life. It was amazing. All of the things that have been holding me back, all of the excuses that I had made and there were many suddenly went away and I finished my book in nine weeks. It was incredible.
That's the power of a deadline. And a consequence when you put them together they will help you finish your book.
I think having habits are important and having things that you do every day, having writing routines, are important.
You know, knowing where you write best, knowing what time of day you can be creative, all of that is important. Right. But. It's not going to write your book for you. Honestly, you're going to find some distraction. That's going to knock you out of it, out of your routine. Something else that's more important.
Some other deadline is going to come up and there goes your writing routine. So having a consequence is the cement that makes a deadline work. It makes it important in your mind, and that helps you focus and get it done. So, how do you use this effectively? Okay. The first thing I want you to do on your paper is I want you to set a deadline, right?
So that's what I want you to do. I want you to write down your final deadline.
And then what you want to do is think of a weekly deadline. What is a weekly deadline? Because as I say you can't pull an overnighter and write your book. I've tried to do that before it doesn't work. You have to break up your book into smaller chunks and then take it on every week. So have a weekly deadline. Okay. The Write Practice in 100 Day Book, our deadline is Friday. So at the end of this, you can say, I will write X number of words a week due by Friday, each week.
If you are working on a second draft, you can just cross out “write” and just put an “edit,” and just think about how many words a week. Are you going to write.
For this, we have a really helpful resource at The Write Practice it's called our, we have a article on word counts and it's in your lessons.
If you're writing a nonfiction book, I would shoot for somewhere in the 45 to 65,000 word range. If you're writing a memoir 65 to 90,000 words is great. A good range for a novel it's 80 to 90,000. That's the sweet spot. But YA novels? A lot of mystery novels tend to be a little bit shorter. Fantasy novels and science fiction novels tend to be a little bit longer and you just need to figure out what works best for your book. How many words.
And then what I want you to do is divide by how many weeks.
So my book right now, I'm on the second draft. It's 80,000 words right now. And my goal is to get up to 90,000 cause I have a couple of scenes to add. So 90,000 divided by 14.5 is 6,200 words, 6,200 words. So my sentence in that first section, it says I will edit 6,200 words a week.
Do you by Friday, each week. And then if you want to do a little bit more math, you can think about a daily word count goal.
And this is where, by the way, if you're a Scrivener user, this is where a Scrivener is really great. And this is my look on Scribner, right? And so what you do in Scribner is you go to projects and if you have Scribner, you can click show, project targets, and then there's this little great thing that pops up. And it gives you a deadline and it allows you to put in how many words you're getting.
For some reason that little window is not showing up. But in that project targets, you can set a deadline. It will do the math for you, and you can figure out how many words every day you need to write because it's good to have daily deadlines too.
I'm going to write every day, every week, day 6,200 divided by five it's about 1200 words a day.
All right. So put that down for your book. How many words every day are you going to write?
And then I want you to start thinking about conflict consequences. Okay. And I want you to think about one big consequence and then two small consequences, because it's helpful to have a big consequence, that thousand dollar check at the end, if you miss your deadline. And it's also helpful to have a couple of smaller things so that it can help you to stay on track.
I have a consequence for, if I miss one weekly deadline, consequences if I miss two weekly deadlines, and then a big consequence if I miss three weekly deadlines or I don't finish my book.
So for the first two, the smaller consequence, I would encourage you to think about some guilty habits that you have, some things that might not be that productive that you do on a day-to-day basis or on a weekly basis.
But. That are kind of guilty habits. They give you a sense of wellbeing. They're kind of the ways that you procrastinate. For example I am a really good Sudoku play player and I recently discovered killer Sudoku and then became very good at that. And I just could spend hours a day playing killer Sudoku and winning puzzle after puzzle, after puzzle.
And it's a really great way to never write my book. Right. And so what is that for you? What kind of guilty habit do you have? Maybe it's watching TV, maybe it's social media. What would be something that you, you could give up that's kind of a guilty habit?
I would encourage you to do something that is a guilty habit, not something that gives you joy or your your life, meaning. Right. So don't give up something like spending time with your spouse, that would be really bad. Or playing with your kids or something that gives you joy and is important for your family. Give up some things small that's just for you.
And then think about one big consequence. Okay. What is the big consequence? Maybe you write a check and you give it to the society for the euthanasia of puppies.
That would be very focusing, right. That would help you make sure you never not finish your book. You would always have a writing day because what's worse. Like having an hour of really hard focus, it's hard writing a book or, you know, sending $900 to watch puppies die. That would be watched much worse.
Right. And that's the point you want to make this hard. Okay. You want to make it difficult to not write.
So that's your deadlines and consequences. I want you to fill that out for you and what's gonna work best for you.
Humans are motivated by loss of version. Right. That's one of our highest motivations is loss aversion, trying to avoid something bad happening to us.
Now we are also motivated subconsciously and consciously by reward. And so having both is a really great strategy. When you finish your goal, Do something fun after you hit your word count goal every day, do something fun as a way to reward yourself and that, you know, hits the dopamine centers and makes the habit stick a little bit better.
And then all of a sudden, you know, you are craving to right. And that's a really good thing you can do. All right.