Deadlines are not an issue for most writers. If you write for newspapers, magazines, or other media outlets that set publication times, then you have to deal with deadlines – glorious deadlines!
Consider deadlines as your motivation!
Deadlines can be motivating for procrastinators. I am one of those…which is why I establish and embrace my own deadlines. Contests have deadlines, so if you want to submit your work to the competition, meeting the deadline is your goal.
Self-imposed deadlines hold you accountable…to yourself! If you have several projects in the works, setting deadlines for each of them gets you to prioritize where you spend your time. Which one is closest to being finished? If you are committed to finishing it and getting it published–and really like what you have written–set a close deadline.
Remember, if you have to do editing, you will need to incorporate that time into finishing your work.
Be realistic when setting those glorious deadlines. If you have yet to start a project and want to have it completed in a month you might be stretching it and adding stress to your world. You may still be able to achieve it, but better to set a realistic goal and meet it than set an artificial one and be disappointed in failure.
Last, reward yourself when you meet the deadlines. Have a glass of wine. Get away from the keyboard for a few days. Go for a walk. And set new deadlines–glorious deadlines.
Writers I converse with regularly seem to lack motivation to write as a result of COVID-19. They are isolated from other writers, family members, and friends, so it is hard to write about anything without human interaction. So here are my thoughts for writers who lack COVID motivation.
Dedicate time each day to writing. Just write! It matters not what you type into your document or scribble on a note pad. Write about your day’s experiences if nothing else. What is essential is that you are writing, whether it’s at 7:00 in the morning or 11:00 at night. Write!
Find something to write about. Your favorite food and why you relish that delicacy. Your best friend and how you get along with that person, even if your best friend is yourself. Write about your favorite time of year or the season that inspires you, such as the colors of autumn.
Correspond with someone you care about. Find a blank note card and send a friend who lives far away a message about why you miss them or what you treasure most about your relationship and your hopes of rekindling it when you can get back together again. Open your heart to them.
Find a writing contest and enter it. There are many magazines and writing groups solicting entries in their writing contests. If you find one you feel qualified to enter, study the rules and write that winning entry. It may cost you a few bucks to enter, but the satisfaction of competing…and winning…can be motivating. And last…
Set a daily goal and write your novel. If you want to write a 90,000 word novel, you can do it in 90 days if you set a goal of writing 1,000 words every day. Perhaps you write 500 words in the morning and another 500 after dinner or all of them at once. The key is to set a goal and keep working at it. It can be your motivation.
Finding the motivation to write is difficult for me even in the best of situations. My most consistent excuse is time. “I don’t have time to write.” Over the last few weeks, I have had all the time in the world. One would expect that I have been writing like a fiend since my biggest obstacle has been thwarted in magnificent fashion by a pandemic.
Nowhere to go. No one to see. WRONG.
As I sit down to write I wonder…does this even matter? People are dying, people are losing jobs and losing their business and I’m going to write yet one more mystery book? Who do I think I am?
I close my computer, put away my notebook and sit. Just sit. I look for distraction and turn on the television. I flip channels until I see something that catches my eye. I watch the program. I turn it off.
I pull out a book by the same name, The Murder at the Vicarage, by Agatha Christie.
It is a book of fiction. It is a mystery. I read it. I feel better during this time of craziness and loss. I escape to Saint Mary Mead and when I return, I am ready to continue on here in the real world.
I am no Agatha Christie, but I realize that writing does matter. Even my writing. Perhaps a hundred years from now, my words will provide relief or escape to someone when their world has been tipped on its head.