Creating Deadlines in Reedsy

How to Create Deadlines in Reedsy and Why You Should

The Reedsy writing app is perhaps one of my favorite tools when writing my books. A part of that is because you can create goals and deadlines for yourself. But how do you set a deadline and why is it important?

It’s all about keeping you motivated to write. Unless a publishing house or agent is requiring your manuscript at a certain date, writers often need a bit of a fire lit under them.

This is especially true if you’re focusing on self-publishing your book.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.

Why Are Deadlines in Reedsy Important?

As I said, creating deadlines can help you stay motivated, especially if you can associate it with a sense of urgency. When you have a ticking clock, it can ultimately affect how seriously you take yourself.

In Reedsy, a deadline works in tandem with writing goals. The app will adjust how many words you need to write per day in order to meet that deadline.

You can also use it to promote your book to potential readers. If you have an idea of when your book will be finished, you can start drumming up excitement and support.

Though, you probably don’t want to share your first draft with anyone other than your beta readers and editor. Still, completing that first draft demonstrates how seriously you’re taking that book for yourself as well as your audience.

At the end of the day, a deadline can help you see a goal and achieve it to finish the first draft of your novel in a timely manner.

Setting Up Deadlines in Reedsy

The tools in Reedsy are quite easy to use, and most are self-explanatory. So, let’s take a look at creating the deadline.

Step 1: Access the Manuscript’s Target Word Count

I’m going to assume you already have the free account from Reedsy and have created your book.

From your manuscript, click on the “Goals & Insights” icon on the top right. It’s the one with a target and an arrow sinking into its center.

Goals in Reedsy

This is the Goals & Insights screen for the Reedsy writing app. It’ll keep track of your word counts for the day while showing stats regarding the current chapter by default.

Next to the Manuscript Goal, click the three dots to open its settings and click, “Edit.”

Edit Manuscript Goals

This will bring up the target word count and date you want to set for your deadlines in Reedsy.

You can also get to this screen by clicking the “Set Target” link.

Step 2: Set a Target Word Count

The number of words you’ll write for your manuscript depends on you and the story. However, I find that I often add more text while editing, which means I also set my total word count goals lower than what I’ll wind up publishing.

If you’re not sure about the length of your manuscript, you can always use the average word count for various genres. Each one is different, but it all comes down to how long you want your book.

Add the total number of words for the manuscript goal. Don’t worry about adding the comma for the number.

Total Words for Manuscript

In this example, I’m going to say that I want at least 65,000 words for this next book. It’s an autobiography about how I went from freelance writing to publishing books. So, it doesn’t need to be as long as something like a horror, fantasy, or mystery novel.

Step 3: Set Your Deadline

Here’s where you set deadlines for your Reedsy book. Use the drop-down box to select a date you want to be finished with the first draft of your book.

Choose Deadline Date

Keep in mind that the date will impact your daily writing goals. Make your deadline something realistic according to what you can actually handle.

Step 4: Configure Your Writing Days

After choosing the date, you’ll see an option underneath for “Writing days.” Click the link to configure the days that you plan to write your manuscript.

Configure Your Writing Days

A new window will open displaying the days of the week.

Click the days you plan on writing your book. When the day is highlighted, it means the day is selected.

Select Writing Days

When you’ve selected the days you plan to write, click the Save button.

Step 5: Create the Deadline Goal

After choosing your days, click the “Create goal” button for the manuscript.

Create the Goal in Reedsy

Once you create the goal, the deadline is set and your “words/day” will appear for your manuscript.

Deadline is Created

You can change the manuscript’s word count, due date, and days you write at any time by clicking the “Edit” option from the three dots in the Manuscript goal block.

Being Realistic With Your Deadline

While deadlines can be quite helpful for stirring up some motivation, you also want to be realistic with yourself. It does no good to your self-esteem if you create goals and deadlines that are beyond your reach in Reedsy.

This means you might have to make regular adjustments to your manuscript goals until you find a good flow for yourself.

Because I keep track of everything I write in a spreadsheet (because I’m a dork), I know how many words I can write per day with no problem. That lets me configure the deadline according to my past performance.

So, unless you know how much you can handle writing on your selected days, you might want to periodically re-evaluate the deadline.

The nice thing is that Reedsy lets you change these deadlines and writing goals quite easily and they are updated immediately. Don’t be afraid to play around a bit with the date to find what works best for you.

The idea behind setting a deadline is to give yourself a realistic expectation of when you’ll finish the first draft. This means you have to be realistic about how much you can write per day.

Some people can handle 2,000+ words while others can easily write 300. There is no right or wrong answer here as to how much you have to write. It all centers around your capabilities and schedule.

For instance, some of us have kids, school, and a full-time job to manage. That means less time to write the manuscript.

Use deadlines to give yourself inspiration and motivation, but don’t be so rigid that you make yourself miserable.

How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated?

There are all kinds of ways to keep yourself motivated as a writer. I like to use goals and deadlines to keep me focused on the things I want to achieve in Reedsy. Others can simply jump on the keyboard and start typing.

Although the Internet is full of ways to boost motivation, the best methods are the ones that work for you. As long as the script gets written, that’s all that matters in the end.

What do you do to keep yourself going with forward momentum as a writer, blogger, or freelancer?

Michael Brockbank
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