top of page
  • Writer's pictureTina Radcliffe

Deadline Dementia

"It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

You thought Deadline Dementia was just for published novelists, didn't you?

I'm here to tell you that Deadline Dementia can and should be yours published or unpublished.

Of course, Deadline Dementia assumes you have writing goals.

If you need help with effective goal setting, find a methodology that speaks to you.

"I believe in keeping your goals simple, and if you do that, goal-setting and goal-management doesn’t require software. In fact, you can do it with a single index card." - ZenHabits

“Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by the process itself…it is gradual. Ask yourself the simple question—what is most important to you in life? Making a list of values that you want to live by is, in and of itself, a small “win.” ...acknowledging these small victories gives you confidence that you are on the right path and allows you to take a deeper look at what your goals and purposes are. As you move forward, you are encouraged to go, even more specifically, into action planning and setting deadline dates by which you want to accomplish those things.” -Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. According to the old saying, if you eat a live frog first thing each morning you'll have the satisfaction of knowing it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the day's most challenging and most prone to procrastination task, Eat That Frog shows readers how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize their time. This means not only getting more things done, but getting the right things done." - Brian Tracy Eat That Frog

Time passes whether you finish a book or not.

"Consider this: If you write one page a day, you will produce a substantial novel in a year's time. The writer who turns out one book a year, year in and year out, is generally acknowledged to be quite prolific. And don't you figure you could produce one measly little page, even on a bad day? Even on a rotten day?"--Lawrence Block

Granted, today authors are expected to produce far more than one book a year. But if you aren't producing even one a year, how are you going to write two...or three?

How fast can you write anyhow? Entertain these real life (happened to me) scenarios:

• you get a request for a full from a contest on a manuscript that consists of three chapters

• your submitted full manuscript comes back with suggested revisions

• you get a phone call from an editor who wants the rest of your manuscript that you only have in rough draft

How do you determine how much time you need to get the manuscript ready to mail if you have never set your own Deadline Dementia?


When my editor wants to coordinate with me regarding the deadline for my next book I absolutely must be able to give her an educated response!

If you don't set deadlines and track your writing pace how will you answer when your editor asks how long you need to turn your proposal in?

Often it is difficult to focus your time and energy on what can seem like an elusive dream (selling a book).

Here's are some ideas and thoughts that have inspired or encouraged me to stay focused and to create my own Deadline Dementia.

1. I love contests, because of the deadlines. For example: I used to complete a new manuscript by the RWA Golden Heart deadline every year. I didn't have to submit it, but I have to have a first draft completed or nearly so.

2. Susan Mallery really inspires me. I highly recommend her workshop on writing productivity. It is based on figuring out many pages you write a day and increasing by half a page every few weeks.

3. Years ago I heard author Cindi Myers speak on how she plans her writing year based on how much income she needs. I recall her setting a writing goal for the new year (the dollar amount she set for writing goals was what I was making at my day job at that time.) The first step toward meeting her goals is strategizing what she needs to sell to bring home the bacon.

4. I like to remember Nora Roberts' thoughts on the writing muse:

“If you need to believe in the muse, let’s say, fine and dandy. Whatever works for you. But don’t tell me you can’t work today because the muse has left you. Go track down that fickle slut, drag her back, chain her to your keyboard, and GET TO WORK.”


"I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. It's my job to sit down and figure out what to write. I think if you wait for 'the muse' you may wait a very long time."

5. When I worked a day job, outside the home, I had what I lovingly refer to as "jammy days". These are my personal Deadline Dementia days. I used to plan several back-to-back for jammy days. The following were forbidden: showering, cooking, cleaning, leaving the house, watching TV, or talking on the phone.

I ran all errands ahead of time and stocked the cupboards with necessary provisions.

This is not unlike a book-in-a-week scenario or the basics of NaNoWriMo, except that I did it several times a month. I did this because I wrote my first seven Love Inspired books while working outside the home full-time and was basically a Weekend Writing Warrior.

What do you need to do to create your own Deadline Dementia? Because, my fellow writers, it's official. Deadline Dementia is for everyone.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page