Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indie Life: Deadlines

The Indelibles


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Deadlines 

I've been thinking (words to fear, I know) about deadlines.

I create goals with time tables. I say I hope to get "this much" done by the end of the day/month/year. Sometimes I manage the goal. Sometimes I push the goal to the next month. Life happens, and we all get that.

Last year, I had deadlines and tried my very best to keep up with them, even if the writing/editing wasn't going as well as I'd hoped. This year, I'm not pressuring myself to label a deadline, although I have ideas on when I would like to get a work done.

That's the good thing about self-publishing. Deadlines are only on us. We can either set them ... or not. But when we do set them, there is a lot of pressure, especially if fans (oh, where are you fans?) are expecting the next book.

So, if I'm not setting deadlines, then why am I thinking about them?

It boils down to series. I must admit I have a love affair with trilogies. Most of my ideas tend to come in threes (three books, that is). So I'm having to decide if I want all three books done or if I want to get one written/edited and have outlines/vague ideas for the other two before book one comes out. Right now, I'm leaning toward having all three books finished before publishing book one. That way I can add things to book one to foreshadow books two and three. Plus, it's much easier to edit books two and three if there is something down for them--even if I have to scrap an entire book and start from scratch. The full-time day job can also throw a wrench in plans, so having a series at least done to some extent can help.

At least that's the plan right now. Of course, now it makes me consider what I want to work on, if I keep to that plan. We'll have to see. I'm still pondering that one.

Do you make deadlines? If so, can you usually keep them?

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23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Smart thinking! You can assure continuity in the books that way. And you won't be forced to do things in the third book because that's the way the first one set it up. (Or be like me, thumbing through my first book thinking "Crap, what did I call that alien race again?")

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a good plan so you don't lock yourself into something you don't want in book 1. Though it'd take me too long to write the other 2. I try to set deadlines but never make them with work and my busy blog. I'm actually scared of getting a publishing contract and having deadlines to finish books.

Summer Ross said...

When I set deadlines- I usually meet them. My deadlines aren't for publication so much as for writing a draft or something like that. Last year I had a January to May deadline to complete my first draft of my novel. This year I want to start submitting before June.

Laura Pauling said...

It's idea to write all three books at once. I'd get impatient, waiting through that process though. But it's smart. I set a production schedule and a To Do list for each week, each day. I don't really look at it as deadlines though. And I'm flexible with it too.

L.G. Smith said...

I'm working on a trilogy as well. I finished one of the novels and then decided I would write one more before trying to get them published. I'm a slow writer and thought it would be better to have two ready to go from the start. I think, too, with a series people want to get their hands on the next one sooner rather than later if they enjoyed the first one.

M.J. Fifield said...

I do make deadlines and sometimes I even make them.

I think in threes as well. In my big series, I don't have all the books done (nowhere near it) but I do have an overall picture of where I want them to go. I'm hoping that'll suffice and I won't end up writing myself into a corner I can't get out of.

shelly said...

I'm working on two different series. The Book 1 to Secondhand Shoes is out. So yeah deadlines help.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Patricia Lynne said...

Writing all three books before publishing the first sounds like a solid plan. That way you can keep too much time from passing between books being published.

Carol Kilgore said...

I usually work really well to deadlines. Regular to-do lists, not so much, tho. Goals fall somewhere in the middle.

Jeff Hargett said...

I think there's something to be said for having an entire series completed before starting the actual publishing process. Could pay off well.

Larry Kollar said...

A lifetime of working in high tech gave me a smirking contempt of deadlines. "Oh, it's going to be done by September? Of what year?" So when I said I wanted to have my first novel out by September 2011, I just shrugged when it didn't happen. The extra 11 months made it a better story, anyway.

But I don't write fast enough to finish an entire trilogy. Shoot, I didn't even know how the White Pickups sequel was supposed to end when I uploaded the book, although that took care of itself within a month.

Deadlines are one way to pressure yourself to finish the story--uploading Part 1 is another. I talked about writing serials some in my IndieLife post, and how I started the longest two with no idea of how they were going to end.

E. Arroyo said...

Sounds like a great plan. I hate deadlines. Working at my own pace is much better for me. =)

Christine Rains said...

You do so much, and you do it very well. Deadlines are tough. I think I made mine very tough on myself this year, but I'm surprising myself with keeping to them. I'm trying to learn to accept the things I cannot control and be more lenient on myself, but it's difficult.

Camille Picott said...

I'm in the same boat as you. I used to be fantatical about my deadlines, but that ended up causing me way more stress. I am much more flexible with my deadlines now, and try to set realistic deadlines, not fantasy deadlines. :) It seems to work.

I have also been considering writing several books at once for the same reason. Let me know how it goes for you!

lbdiamond said...

It's always a good idea to set up some sort of structure. Deadlines are a great way to do that!

olivecollins.com said...

My deadlines are entirely unrealistic, Stephen King who does 5000 words a day couldn't maintain my deadline. Occasionally I set realistic deadlines but other factors disrupt them. My last novel is with the editor at the moment so it's a nice time when I can play with short stories. I enjoyed your blog, thank you.

Heather Holden said...

I think it's smart to have all three books completed before publishing them. It lessens your chances of writing yourself in a corner that way!

Tammy Theriault said...

I'm not that great at writer deadlines but kudos to our indie people!!

Cathy Keaton said...

I make loose deadlines like I want to finish my 1st draft by the end of the year, or whatever. I know I don't have to worry about real deadlines with a book that nobody really knows about right now.

But, deadlines make things exist that probably wouldn't otherwise. If only I were better about making them for myself.

Heidi Garrett said...

I love deadlines:) They're a huge help for me, but I also think I'm realistic, i.e. the deadlines I've set are based on how long it's taken me to do something in the past and then I add padding! Larry, that comes from being in IT, too, something's ALWAYS going to happen, lol. I dunno, I love deadlines, I see them as goals and i get this weird sense of YEAH when I meet them:)

Nick Wilford said...

Deadlines are great for self-publishers as they provide motivation as long as you don't set them in concrete.

Not sure I'd have the patience to finish an entire series before publishing, a single book is massive enough for me! But it sounds a sensible way to go so you can adapt the first, second books if needed.

Jennifer Recchio said...

Finishing the entire series before publishing sounds like a great idea. You could even release them all at the same time, allowing your readers to binge read them!

I set two types of deadlines, my "soft" deadlines when I tell myself I'd like to be done with something, and my "hard" deadlines when I tell my editor I will have something to them by a certain date. So far I've managed to miss all my soft deadlines but make my hard ones, mostly with the help of a few weekends locked up with no internet and lots of caffeine.

Rachel Morgan said...

I'm very glad I get to set my own deadlines! I've already shifted them three times this year!