Writer’s Tool Box: Deadlines

This afternoon I spent some time exchanging emails with yet another editor. From her examples I gather, she is exactly the kind of editor I need, but, at least right now, I’m not certain our schedules are going to synchronize.

I have a high degree of confidence that I will have the manuscript for Up Slope in second draft by early March.  After that, its simply a matter of ping pong with an editor to put the final polish on my next published book. My target for publication is the middle of April.

The reason I’m writing about deadlines today is because I’ve got many. These are self imposed and I use them every day to manage the writing process. They are one of the more important tools I keep in my writing tool box.

Drive to Completion

One of the most important features of this tool is that it helps push a writing project toward completion. Without deadlines and project milestones my super slacker powers take over and things just sort of fall by the way side. A complete story idea, stored in memory for only a short while, may never make it onto the page. When I schedule out a project, setting dates and critical milestones along the way, I have to use some guess work, but the intent is to ensure I have the reins all the way until publication.

All along the way I can evaluate if I’m on track to complete the project on time or if I need to get the Led out and knock out the words at hyper speed. Deadlines force me to evaluate how I’m doing and ensure that I get to the end of the project.

Accountability

There is myth out there, repeated endlessly by the nefarious they, which tags Independent authors lower in the literary hierarchy because they don’t know how to deliver a project. Because we don’t have the same kind of external management that a traditionally published author must deal with, we’re somehow less capable of delivering on time.

Yeah, sure, I don’t have a contract or an editor telling me when something is due. My deadlines are my own, but because I know they give my writing projects a level of accountability I stick to them.

The accountability is between me, as the author, and my audience. Sure, it is completely self imposed, but it is no less important because it is internal to the project. Deadlines in writing always come back to the reader. Publishing when you’ve said you will means that people can look forward to your next story. This can actually help build anticipation and may even invigorate future sales.

Conclusion

I’ve tried in the past to pants my way to a complete story and the problem is that I never get there. An it is not just laziness. I get distracted and confused easily if there is not a target for me to aim at.

Rigorous and complete management of a writing project is probably one of the best ways to remove confusion and provide focus. Even from within the creative process. I have sat in front of my laptop and found myself contemplating the many ways a story might go only to realize that I’m wasting critical golden time. The deadline and my dedication to it makes it possible for me to pick a story path and stick to it.

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Writer’s Tool Box: The Problem with Facebook

“The problem with Facebook is that it’s keeping things from you.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up. If you’re reading this on Facebook right now, know that you’ve almost won the lottery.

My recent experiences with Facebook promotions was a less than stellar example of the grift that is Facebook. This guy does a very good job of explaining the internals of why this media outlet will never work out for creatives and independents.

Yeah sure, I’ll still use FB as a social site for an author presence, but my expectations have been summarily reduced. Otherwise, it’s little more than a corporate shill that hasn’t figured out how to monazite its products correctly. That is why I’m not going to do much more to develop my author presence in this social network. Ultimately, it will cost me more to get views that will likely never turn into sales, than other social networks where the views and the sales are far more likely to occur.

Also, buy my book.

Writer’s Tool Box: OMG Vellum

OMG

OMG

Have you been wrestling with formatting crap in your ebook publication tonight? Guess what, in about 30 minutes I turned my manuscript from a struggle to a dream. Previously, the table of contents was not working. KDP split several front papers including the copyright page and the single line dedication. Word for Mac would not embed fonts so any time there was a font size change the whole thing went wonky. And adding an “About the Author” page was ridiculous.

I can’t recall where I heard about this Mac resident application by 180g, but it had been something I’ve been wanting to try for a little while now. Holy cow! I am so glad that I did.

Feature request guys, integration with CreateSpace please! Yeah, I imagine that this might lead to a few additional hoops to jump through, but oh how I crave that ease for the print version of anything else I write. Seriously, this is well worth the money.

If you’ve already bought the ebook on Amazon wait about 12 hours and the new and improved version should download to your favorite reading device. If not, go take a look at the preview tomorrow morning. What a difference, and so easy. This application is being added to the regular workflow for any publication in the future.