How to Murder Writing Deadlines

writing deadlines

Last week I, Karen Tyrrell author was faced with three looming writing deadlines. Three! I’m an award winning author of six resilience books, but I still HATE triple writing deadlines.

Tell me: WHY do multiple writing deadlines always fall at the same time?

The pressure was on for me to finalize three submissions to the highest possible standard …

  1. Write and submit ten pages of my novel to my writing group Write Links for critique
  2. Submit a short story to a writing competition with a mental health theme from the perspective of a twelve year old girl.
  3. Return rewrites and response queries to my editor for an upcoming novel.

PLUS my diary over flowed with to-do lists.

EEK! I was in a flap, losing sleep worrying about how I could finish my projects in time. My deadlines equated to 100’s of hours work. My stomached clenched!

I sent out a passionate plea on Facebook. ‘Help me!

Alison Stegert Writer, teacher, school counsellor replied.

alisonPrioritise. Put them in order. See if you can negotiate an extension on the lowest priority to give yourself some wiggle room. Start on the highest priority with a goal in mind. Switch it to a competition with yourself, rather than a race against the clock to give you a sense of empowerment. If all else fails, call in a friend! Good luck!’

Alison’s astute answer inspired me to write a blog that would empower me to cope with future deadline crises. I requested four high achievers to share their tricks, secrets and expertise. So I and fellow writers DON’T suffer the agonizing anxiety of writing deadlines.

 How to Murder Writing Deadlines

 Yvonne Mes Children’s Author & co-ordinator of Write Links

sml-author-head-bw-Yvonne-2015-275x300Inform your family that you have a deadline. Switch off all those open tabs on your computer, one thing at a time! Have frequent breaks and get sufficient sleep, you’ll be more productive when awake. Learn to say ‘no’ at times, you don’t have to say yes to every deadline, appointment or social engagement, don’t try to be superhuman!’

Dimity Author & Reviewer at Boomerang Books

dimityBe methodical. Break the project down into doable bits.

  1. Calendarise: the actual deadline date but also prior dates by which to accomplish set parts of the project.
  2. Don’t try to achieve everything in one week.
  3. Meal plan! Not having to waste time and energy at the last minute does wonders for concentration and focus.

Charmaine Clancy Author & Director: Rainforest Writers Retreat


  1. Great organizer – use an A5 Filofax with week to a page, so you can see weekly deadlines. Or I month to a page, for a quick glance, and daily ‘to do’ lists.
  2. To do’ computer screensaver – Add ‘Stickies’ as task items.
  3. Family back-up team – Teenagers are great with social media, graphic design, and customer service. No family workers? Team up with authors.

Ready doing doneWhich Writing Deadline tips resonated with you?

HOW do you cope with writing deadlines?

What are your  coping skills?

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8 comments to How to Murder Writing Deadlines

  • Jacqui Halpin

    Great advice, ladies! Thanks, Karen 🙂

  • Hi Jacqui,
    Thanks for checking out all the Deadline fighting tips. Hope they’re useful. Not that I think you need them lol.
    I’m now more equipped than ever to face those dreaded deadlines…. Karen x

  • Fred Sykes

    Very inciteful tips I wll certainly use them in my next endeavours

  • Hi Fred,
    Thanks for dropping by my website to check out my Deadline “killing” tips.
    Thrilled you’re going to refer to them in your next writing endeavors … Karen 🙂

  • You’re welcome Fred and Jacqui. Useful hearing how others deal with the pressure too. Quite frankly, it’s that very pressure that helps me reach my goals. Without the fear of not making in time, despondency creeps in. Plus I can not emphasis enough how many times meal planning has saved the day and hungry tummies. LOL. D

  • Hi Dimity,
    Thanks so much for answering my plea for help, guest blogging on such short notice. Loved your practical tips and I know my readers will love them too. Good luck with your deadlines … and your writing …Hugs Karen x

  • Lea Scott

    Thanks Karen. Have you heard about the launch approach? It’s not a bad thing to launch all your planes at once but then just let them circle and concentrate only on the ones you need to land. I’m sitting on three deadlines at present, started them all off with outlines, etc but now working on landing them one at a time. I guess this is an analogy for prioritisation. Lea

  • Hi Lea,
    Thanks Lea, for dropping by. I haven’t heard of the Launch approach before.
    But I actually do it organically. When I accept a writing challenge first thing I do is brainstorm key ideas before I file it away to be completed later.
    Recently 3 subs put me in a spin as each opportunity meant so much to me and I wanted so much to produce my best work and achieve high standards… I wish you all the best in your crime / psychological writing … Karen 🙂

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