Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
It can take quite a bit of effort to motivate yourself to write. Whether you’re a blogger or hammering out that new story, there are days when you might struggle to create content. Can setting deadlines for your work help motivate you to be more productive?
When you’re working from home, anything you can do to inspire yourself to write is beneficial. Unless you have a boss standing over your shoulder, it’s easy to get sidetracked or otherwise have a lackluster day for writing.
How Setting Deadlines Can Help
Even though you might not technically need to have certain things done throughout the day, creating deadlines for yourself can help you become more productive. That is as long as you have the right mindset.
When writing from home, it’s incredibly easy to divert yourself from doing the things you want to do. This could be anything from writing content for Textbroker clients to publishing your own book.
But if you can get it into your head that content needs to be done at a certain time, it will help stir some motivation.
So, why should you care about creating deadlines for yourself?
Creating a Sense of Urgency
When you see that you have X, Y, and Z to do before a certain date, it creates a sense of urgency. This often results in pushing yourself to get things done even through the “I don’t wanna” stages.
For instance, I set a deadline for myself to have one of my Wattpad books done by the end of March. With each passing day, I feel that sense of urgency driving me to spend some time working on the book.
I do the same thing for all of my blogs. Though, I don’t get as many published as I want. This is because I prioritize my clients and my books. And when I run out of time for the day, the blog posts and videos get postponed.
Regular Goals to Boost Confidence
When you start knocking down all of your goals and meeting your deadlines, it starts to boost your levels of confidence. And a lack of confidence is a huge problem for a lot of writers, especially those who are just starting.
Using myself as an example, I created a deadline to have the first draft of my next book done before October 31st. I then set daily goals of how much I needed to write in order to meet that deadline.
The end result was actually finishing two weeks ahead of schedule. And it did a number on my confidence as I felt proud that I was able to accomplish something so major compared to what I’ve done in the past.
Reaching Your Aspirations Sooner
Why do you write? Are you looking to eventually replace a full-time income, or do you just simply like to share your content? When you set deadlines for yourself, you can achieve the answers to those questions much sooner.
The more effort you put into writing today, the sooner you’ll achieve those aspirations.
Again, let’s take me as an example. I want to start writing my next story on Kindle Vella. However, that simply won’t happen until I finish rewriting my book on Wattpad. So, I am focusing intently to finish that book so I can start on the new story.
If I finish sooner due to my daily writing goals, then I can start sooner on the Kindle Vella project.
Making More Money
Perhaps one of the most impactful reasons to set deadlines for your content is to make more money. This goes along with reaching your aspirations sooner.
For a freelance writer, this means finishing work quicker and getting more clients to pay you for the time. For a blogger, this means getting more posts up that drive traffic for ad revenue or affiliate sales.
If you’re writing books, deadlines will help you publish more while driving the possibility of royalties sooner. Not to mention giving you time to write the next book to sell as well.
How to Set Realistic Deadlines for Yourself
It’s one thing to set a deadline, but it’s another to actually create one that is realistic. This is where a lot of people might fail. They often create goals that are outside of their scope of what they can truly handle.
Or, they’ll base deadlines on what someone else can produce. This often leads to frustration, anxiety, and even anger. The key to being successful in anything is being honest and realistic with yourself and your abilities.
However, there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself a bit further. Goals and challenges are meant to “challenge” you to become more than you were yesterday.
So, how do you go about creating realistic deadlines?
Change Your Mindest
First, you’ll need to change your mindset about writing from home. It’s too easy to put things on the back burner because you simply don’t want to do them.
If you want to be taken seriously as an expert or professional, you need to act the part. This includes setting deadlines for yourself and following through on a regular basis.
In reality, a lot of people fail because they don’t take themselves seriously enough. Part of it has to do with impostor syndrome. But there are those who simply succumb to laziness.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, how you view any given project will impact whether you’re successful or not. Are you excited to be a writer, or do you view it as a chore?
Deadlines for Writing a Book
If you’re working on a book, the first step is to set a deadline for when you want the first draft done. To create a realistic goal, try to estimate how much you can write per day and how many days you can spend writing your book.
You’ll have to be honest with yourself. A lot of people will assume writing seven days per week but will fall short for a variety of excuses. If you can’t commit, then don’t try to force yourself.
Then, decide whether you’re writing a book or a short story. The number of words will vary depending on what you’re creating. For example, the best lengths for genres are wildly different ranging from 80,000 to 90,000 words.
Afterward, divide the estimated length of your story by the number of words you’ll write per week. This will tell you approximately when your book should be finished.
The steps to create deadlines for books would be:
- Creating a goal to write 10,000 words per week (this is only 1,429 words per day).
- Decide on writing a horror novel at 80,000 words.
- Divide 80,000 by 10,000.
- Set a deadline for 8 weeks later (the sum of dividing the length by the goal).
Again, be realistic about how much you can write in a week. If you’re not sure, set a lower goal and then increase it as you see fit later on.
If you use the Reedsy book editor, you can set goals and deadlines, which it tracks to give you a daily update on your progress.
Deadlines for Writing Blog Posts
I’ve seen how routine publishing can affect a blog for both myself and my clients. Creating deadlines for those posts can help keep the flow of content running, which Google likes.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to hammer out a new post every day. One of my clients has had an incredible amount of success with just a single, highly-detailed post published at the same time every week.
What can you commit to creating for your blog? Keep in mind that the more content you have that is tailored for SEO, the quicker you’re website will generate traffic.
Find when your blog is most frequented by visitors. This information is easily found in Google Analytics on the dashboard page. This will include the day of the week and time of day. Use this as your cornerstone for creating a deadline.
Why is this important? Because if you use elements like push notifications, those visitors who visit your blog at certain times are more likely to come back when you publish something new.
The idea is to get you committed to publishing blog posts regularly.
Take Yourself Seriously
A profound element of setting deadlines is taking yourself and your career seriously. Especially if you want to turn writing into something you can do full-time.
When you don’t take blogging, freelancing, or authoring seriously, you’re less likely to follow through with your goals. This is one of the biggest things that has held me back over the years, actually.
Sure, I would put in maximum effort for my clients. But when it came to the blogs, my books, or even the YouTube channels, I just didn’t have the same seriousness involved.
It’s stupefying to realize just how much I’ve lost out on since 2012. Even though I’ve experienced a lot of awesomeness as a freelancer, the blogs should have been much further along and I should have published more books over the last decade.
Nowadays, I attack writing with gusto in all its forms.
Challenge Yourself, But Don’t Overwhelm
The key to setting goals, challenges, and deadlines is to not overwhelm yourself on purpose. It’s OK to push yourself to get more done in the week. But don’t push so hard that you can’t see what’s in front of you.
For example, some people call me a machine because I can regularly hammer out 6,000 words per day across blogs, clients, books, and videos. This is in addition to the other stuff I do throughout the day that doesn’t involve writing.
For someone who can barely scrape up 1,000 words per day, this is not a realistic goal to have.
It took me years to get to this point. And I started by simply focusing on writing more today than I did yesterday. Even if it was by a single word, it was still setting a new personal best. I went from having a goal of 1,000 words to aiming for 10,000 during my prime on Textbroker.
Again, it took quite a while to get there.
Work on goals and challenges that are tailored for you. In reality, it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else can write in a day. All that really matters is whether you’re realistic with what you can handle.
Examples of How I Set Deadlines
To help you create your own deadlines, let’s take a look at a few examples of how I approach different projects.
Deadlines for Blogging
I try to maintain a specific publishing schedule for the blogs. Unfortunately, I don’t always make those deadlines. But it’s not because I don’t take the sites seriously.
What usually happens is that client work takes a bit longer than I would like. After all, we only have 24 hours in a day…and I would like to try to sleep periodically.
In any case, I know it’s realistic for me to set a goal of writing five posts throughout the week across three different blogs. These posts are set to go live on specific days at certain times according to each website’s target audience.
On a good day, I’m able to finish writing a blog post according to the time block I set in Asana and publish ahead of time. Then, if I have extra time or have something I want to cover immediately, I’ll write an extra post.
Nonetheless, I try to stick to a strict deadline for publishing blog posts on certain days.
Deadlines for Books
Creating goals in writing tools like Reedsy or NaNoWriMo.org is a great help for adhering to book deadlines. Either of these platforms will break down your average writing and provide an estimate of when you’ll be done.
Of course, this is best to use with the first draft. You’ll undoubtedly have to edit and make changes. But once you finish that initial story, it’ll help fuel your ambition to get it published.
Each day, I’ll have a set block of time in Asana specifically for writing my books. This is in accordance with my average productivity per hour and the overall estimated length of the story.
For instance, to finish rewriting VII on Wattpad by the end of March, I’ll need 1500 words Monday through Friday. As I know this takes me roughly an hour to accomplish, I set those blocks of time throughout the week.
Publishing a Book in 60 Days
Here’s another example. One of the projects I want to accomplish is publishing a book in 60 days. This will be approximately 80,000 words long. I also want to have a five-day cushion.
In order to publish this book on time, I would have to write 1,455 words per day (80,000 / 55). Realistically, I should only need an hour or so per day to accomplish this goal, which is within my realm of productivity.
So, I would set the deadline 60 days from when I start.
Deadlines for Clients
When it comes to clients, I really don’t have a deadline. It all comes down to finishing the project as quickly as possible and moving on. And clients are first on my list of things to do on any given day.
That’s because they pay my mortgage and bills.
Even when I began writing for Textbroker, I would finish client projects shortly after picking them up. At one point, I was averaging around three, 500-word articles per hour.
My point is that I always put in maximum effort when it comes to client work. And I think a big part of why is because of the pay. Perhaps I didn’t take my blogs and books as seriously in the past because they don’t generate thousands of dollars per month.
Have You Tried Setting Deadlines for Your Writing?
Deadlines, like goals, can have a profound impact on your productivity. That is as long as you’re working to finish those projects on time.
Speaking from experience, I’ve been able to get a lot more done throughout the day simply because of those deadlines I put on myself. A lot of positive things can happen when you care about where you’re going with your writing.
What kinds of things do you do to keep yourself writing throughout the day?
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