Laura here. I just wanted to squee a moment. The very first book I wrote (and edited 3,457 times,) Her Road Home releases tomorrow! It earned a RT 4 star review! You can learn more about it on my website.It’s available at Amazon, B&N, and other stores. Thanks for your indulgence – now here’s Shannon with her monthly wisdom:
A looming date is enough to kill any writer’s ability to get words on a page. Two weeks to finish two hundred pages—if that doesn’t freeze you, add in that they have to be two hundred great pages. Polished, perfect prose.
Anne Lamont’s wonderful book, Bird by Bird, deals with this–a whole book about deadlines and writing. That’s how tough they can be. But why?
Because we want the work to be perfect? Because we said we’d be done on a date and we want to keep that promise? Because we’re insecure and think we MUST or we’re just not a real writer?
A deadline taught me to learn to ask for an extension. A deadline taught me to let the writing flow and edit later. A deadline taught me that if I’m writing regularly, I can do fifty good pages in a weekend. A deadline also taught me how good I can be at procrastinating.
If you haven’t sold yet, you still need deadlines—that’s where contests are great, since they force you to get something done. I love the Golden Heart because you must finish the book to enter.
Deadlines can be a friend. They can make you finish that book, even if you have to drag yourself to the keyboard to do it. And, trust me, you don’t ever know if the writing is good or bad—you can never judge your own work, so it’s very often a good idea to write and worry about everything else later. But a deadline can end up being something you beat yourself with—and it kills the writing.
So how about giving up the word “deadline,” and make it something a little friendlier?
How about targets, goals, due dates, motivational milestones? Or maybe set a celebration date—about a week after you really have to get something done. Put down on the calendar a spa day, or a shopping spree, or dinner with a friend, or a movie binge day. For me, carrots always work better than sticks for motivation. Or break the deadline into smaller bits—a chapter done, to the half way point, a first draft finished. Chop it up.
But the best motivation for me is to make sure that book gets out there to start earning some money. So why not pay yourself for your writing, even if it’s only a few bucks for that spurge—that new shirt, or dinner out, or a chocolate cake?
The trick is to figure out what gets you to a computer to get a book done.
Shannon Donnelly Bio
Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”
Her Regency romances can be found as ebooks on all formats, and with Cool Gus Publishing, and include a series of four novellas.
She also has out the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the Urban Fantasy, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes Paths of Desire, a Historical Regency romance.
She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and computer games. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and only one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at sd-writer.com, facebook.com/sdwriter, and twitter/sdwriter.