Is This Why You Keep Missing Your Writing Deadlines?

Meeting self-imposed deadlines is challenging for most aspiring authors.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially given established and hugely successful authors are well-known to struggle with the same challenge.

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy, famously wrote, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

For Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “every deadline was a crisis.”

When my coaching clients come to me looking for help meeting their writing deadlines, they’re often surprised by my initial response.

Before I recommend course corrections, pull out the ol’ Eisenhower matrix, or start teaching focus techniques, I first ask them a simple, but extremely important, question:

“Are your deadlines realistic?”

Due to consistently missing deadlines, many aspiring authors come to believe there’s something fundamentally flawed about their ability to stay on task. They think they lack focus, ambition, and the skills required to write a book. Often, however, the problem isn’t related to them at all.

The problem is the metric they have chosen to measure their success against.

Writing a first book is a long process that involves learning what works for you, personally, as an author.

There are many tips, tricks, techniques, and templates writing coaches and experts can recommend to you, but there is no one magical method that is going to work for everyone. You’ll need to try different approaches until you figure out what works best for you.

This is why creating realistic deadlines can be so difficult.

If you’ve never written a first draft of a book before, it’s going to be next to impossible for you to accurately estimate a timeline and create a realistic deadline for completion.

Many first time authors completely underestimate how much time, effort, and trial and error goes into writing a book. As a result, they set goals and deadlines for themselves that are completely unattainable.

This is, of course, not unique to authors and writers.

In general, human beings are terrible at creating critical paths for projects. We often do our estimates based on best-case-scenarios where everything goes according to plan. Then, when Murphy’s Law kicks in and the unexpected suddenly steps into our path, all of our carefully laid plans are thrown off course and deadlines are missed.

The difficulty of estimating how much time, effort, and resources a project will take is well known in the project management world, where there is a popular adage: “Take your worst case scenario timeline . . . and then double it!”

Many first-time authors would benefit from employing this technique in their own deadline development.

Next time you miss a writing deadline, before labeling yourself a failure or losing yourself down the ever-tempting rabbit hole of productivity hacks, stop and asked yourself, “Was this deadline realistic?”

FREE 4-Part Online Training Course for Aspiring Authors

Discover the Author Mindset Success Formula today and take your writing to the next level. Insert your name and email below for instant access:

I value your privacy and would never spam you

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field