Creating Interim Deadlines

Which type of person are you –

  • Organized and ready ahead of time?
  • Over committed and always fighting the clock?
  • Hooked on the adrenalin thrill that comes with sliding in just below the wire?


No matter what type of person you are, writing a book is one of those projects that require some planning. Most books are too long to be completed in a day or two, so they need to be worked into the rest of your business and personal life.

How rigid your schedule needs to be will be influenced by the timing of your launch – when you plan on releasing your book to the world. If you are releasing it whenever it is done, that gives you a lot of flexibility. Yet this may work against you in terms of ever completing your book if you don’t create some type of deadline for yourself.

In setting a deadline you need to consider several things about the book itself. I mentioned in an earlier article that you will need to be working on some things, such as preparing for your launch and working on sales copy during the same time frame as you are writing your book.

There are a few things that can’t begin until you have completed the writing, editing, and proofreading process. These include the layout and formatting of the book and the actual printing of the book, if you opt to have a print version rather than or in addition to an electronic version. The length of the book will impact on the time necessary to format and publish it.

The anticipated length of the book will also impact on the time it takes to write it. A twenty to twenty-five page book that you have on your website for clients or prospects to download as a pdf file can be turned around in a couple of weeks including some time to set it aside and come back to it to see if it really says what you want it to.

Typical books that are 200 to 300 pages long – think of a book that is approximately an inch thick and 9 inches tall by 6 inches wide – will take longer to write, edit and proofread. And this time needs to be worked in to your current life. Most of us just don’t have the flexibility to set aside the rest of our lives to focus on writing, unless writing is our primary job.

It’s time to think of your book in chunks so you won’t get overwhelmed and discouraged. Each chapter will be a chunk. Preliminary pages and any material you add to the end of the book will be additional chunks.

Assign some time to each chunk. Create a preliminary calendar plugging in your chunks of writing to your current calendar. Consider the time requirements of things already on your calendar. Build in time to work with your editor before turning your document over to the designer who will create your formatting.

Now go back to your initial tentative launch date. Do your timelines coincide? If not you will need to decide which one to shift. If you have a firm launch date related to other activities in your business or a commitment you have made to a joint venture partner you may need to change your writing calendar. If your writing time is going to be too tight, you may have to push out your launch.

Once you have created your calendar, go back and add as much time as you can.

It doesn’t matter if you are organized or not. Whether or not you are over committed or a total procrastinator. Whether you can stick to deadlines or trust the Universe to get things done for you.

When you get to work on your book you will discover that Life happens. It may be an unexpected event in your own life. It may be that the first piece of writing you do goes smoothly and the second piece just won’t go together. It may be your designer comes down with a bad case of the flu that puts her schedule out of sync.

You will discover that your well-planned schedule has to be adjusted. The more time you are able to build in for contingencies, the more peaceful you will be when the unexpected enters your writing life.

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Now that you have your timeline, how do you stay on target.

Here is where interim deadlines help you. The chunks of your book that we discussed earlier help to set those deadlines. You can use each chapter as an interim deadline or divide the book into thirds or fourths. Mark your calendar with a big star or exclamation mark to remind you of each deadline.

These deadlines are great, but most of the creative people I know need more to keep on target. They need to report to someone else to keep moving, especially when they have been working on the same project long enough for it to become tedious to them.

Find yourself a book coach for the initial part of your work. This person will help you brainstorm and keep on track and will reinforce your commitment to yourself to get the book finished.

Work with an editor to be sure your book is saying what you intend.

Another resource in many communities is a local writer’s group. Your public library is frequently a source of information about these groups.

You don’t have to go it alone on this journey.

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Want some help? Let me partner with you as your Book Enchantress and we can quickly get you on your way.

Give me a call at 843-593-0045 or use this link to schedule a call to talk about what is involved.

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