Does Writing to a Deadline Work?

Is it good to have a deadline for your writing? If you don’t have one from a publisher or a competition, would it help to self impose a date on your work?

A deadline does have advantages. Without one, you could keep going indefinitely, tweaking and tweaking without any idea of when it should be ‘done’. If you’re not to worried about doing anything with it once you’ve finished, then this isn’t an issue. But if you want to approach agents or publishers, or publish yourself you need to, y’know, finish.

A deadline can drag your butt to the chair when you’d prefer to spend a bit longer in bed or chill in front of the TV. It can make you write, even a little, every day. And it can help your confidence and others respect for your work, if you treat it more as a job and not a hobby.

On the other hand, a deadline can increase the pressure on yourself and add to the stress you already have in work or life. And it could mean you skimp on editing, leaving you with an end result that’s not quite as good as it could be. The last thing you want to do is take all the fun out of writing, to lose your love for it.

Deadlines can get good results – but these results depend largely upon your personality. Some people thrive, others paralysed by the fear of a closed end point.

Do you like to set yourself deadlines or do you run away from them screaming?

Related reads

5 Ways to Wordsmith your Writing
Writer’s Block? Move it!
What to do when you hit a Black Hole with your Writing

5 thoughts on “Does Writing to a Deadline Work?

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  1. I set deadlines. I miss them. I feel like a failure. I usually wind up a month late, but I still continue to set deadlines. I’ve started doing yearly goals. Reedit/resubmit this short story. Reedit this novel. Even those can be dicey though.

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