Self-Imposed Deadlines

I just graduated from Rowan University with my Master of Arts degree in Writing. I’ve been in school since Spring of 2012, after going back finally after a long leave of absence. Being in school for so long meant that I always had deadlines and structure imposed upon me by the school. This was especially handy when working on the sequels to Manifestation, two of which were written as part of my school projects (I got A’s on both).

I’ve been trying for awhile to work on revisions for Contamination, the second volume of Arcana Revived. Since this one wasn’t something I was working on for school, there have been times that I had to find the balance between working on revisions on my own time and working on school work. Since the school work had deadlines imposed upon me by my teachers, it usually got the higher priority. Now that school is over, I’m putting Contamination above everything else.

The problem is, now I’m the only one creating my deadlines.

I just missed a self-imposed deadline last week. I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through my third draft of Contamination. I have some notes and feedback from critique partners, and I’m going to be getting more feedback from my Rowan classmates, since we’re keeping in touch and we will be continuing to work together on our writing projects as time goes on. But none of them can force me to stick to a deadline. I’ve got to handle that on my own.

Working through depression makes meeting a deadline a lot harder. I’ve struggled with depression for a long time, and it’s been particularly bad over the last few weeks. Part of the problem is that I’ve left school and as a result I’ve left the structure of my class schedule. I’m also only employed part time at the moment while I look for a more permanent position somewhere in the publishing field. As a result, I’m spending a lot of time at home, alone, with nothing but my thoughts, my writing, a stack of books, and the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

All in all, it’s been a struggle to meet my personal goals. I’m pretty sure it’ll improve once I’m back in a regular work schedule. When I’m home alone everyday, there’s an extreme lack of structure to my daily routine. This makes it easy to lose track of time and end up spending twelve hours straight trying to restore the Light of Aether to the Luminoth homeworld.But when I have a regular work schedule, it’s a lot easier to work my writing and revising schedule around it, such as by setting aside a couple of hours after I get home from work each night. I need that routine, and once I get into the groove again, my writing and revising process will improve greatly (and hopefully so will my blogging schedule, since I really need to get back into a three day a week blogging routine).

In the meantime, I’m going to keep plugging away as best I can. And if you’re a fan of my first book, I promise I’ll have the second one on its way before long.

mani_promoManifestation is available in paperback format through:

CreateSpace and Amazon

and in ebook format through:

Kindle and Nook


11 thoughts on “Self-Imposed Deadlines”

  1. I can’t put down your book, you did an awesome job! Really looking forward for the second one.. and third. πŸ™‚

  2. I’d take the pressure off by stepping away from the 3 a week blogging schedule. Once a week is plenty if you’re writing a novel. When I’m firmly stuck in I just do something when I feel like it – you can keep your presence alive by commenting on other people’s!

    I think that to be able to do the writing thing long term you need to be able to actively like working in solitude – it’s NOT a group activity, however much you share with others. Try this. Just sit down at a certain time each day and say, I will not leave this chair until I have written 1000 words. I do that when I’m not in the mood. It works. The achievement thing might help with the depression too. Good luck!

    1. I’ve already been away from a blogging schedule for a long time. Before today, it was two and a half weeks since I wrote a blog post at all. I feel like I need some kind of schedule again in order to keep in the swing of things.

  3. I know, it’s so funny how we crave to not have a schedule but then we feel lost without one. I have learned that I do best when all my rules are fluid (meaning I keep trying new ways to stay motivated and productive when suddenly what was working doesn’t anymore) except for one, that I have to do a certain word count every day, even it’s crap. But you already seem quite good at that from the things I’ve read. I know you’ll hit your stride again! Thanks for sharing. πŸ˜€

    1. I do much better when I’m writing a first draft, because I can set word count goals, like you said. I seem to have more trouble setting revision goals, since for some reason “Revise at least one chapter per day” doesn’t quite get me into that same stride.

      1. I totally agree. Some of the post-draft stuff is pretty elusive to quantify. You’ve made me think about how I gauge things like that. I think I pretty much put in a certain amount of time. And give myself incentives. Not that it always works. :O

  4. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I find myself laying around, knowing I should be working on my novel or any other writing project, but lacking that “Oh Crap! That’s due soon!” feeling of panic/motivation. This past weekend I made a weekly schedule of a few basic things that will stay the same every day, every week (until a job comes along!) and that has been helping. Like, I need to get to the gym by 11am, which means I should probably get up and start making tea somewhere around 10. Even if I don’t stick to that, it gets me moving and doing with a sense of preparation, so hopefully I’ll end up moving over to my writing desk at some point.

    1. If I went to the gym or anything else that regularly got me out of the house, that might help. Though adding regular exercise into my routine is a whole other issue I struggle with.

  5. It’s hard sticking to a set schedule when you have a lot of free time, as it seems. You per chant for discipline wanes tremendously. I struggle with that trying to write stories. Some days, it’s hard to push myself to write, so most of the time, I don’t. I think that if you plan it out a day at a time, a week at a time, I think it will be easier to stick to it because you’re making a commitment to write on a specific day at a specific time.

    I’m sure you know all of this already. Helps to have a reminder every now and then.

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