Writing Assignment: Set A Deadline

by Randy Murray on January 6, 2012

The deadline is that dreaded thing that convinces most people that they hate writing. It probably starts at school. You have an assignment due on Friday morning and if you don’t have it completed, you’ll fail the class. So many of us focus on the penalty and the consequences that we can’t focus on the task.

For the experienced writer a deadline can still be intimidating. For me, it’s something welcome. The deadline tells me when I’ll be done. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pressure. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t have to work hard right up to that moment my piece is due. But it does mean a known  time when I’ll have my writing complete. Why? Because I’ve made a commitment to not miss deadlines.

An experienced writer starts with a deadline and works backward to create a schedule. If my piece is due in two weeks on the twenty-third, then I’ll have to start no later than this Friday, complete the first draft on the following Wednesday, rewrite and polish by Thursday, and have a final review before the deadline.

The inexperienced or careless writer waits until the last moment and has to write in a panic. You simply can’t do your best work that way. Oh, you might get lucky once and a while and find that inspiration is driven by fear and panic, but trust me, you can’t keep that up for long.

But you can use the deadline as motivation.

For today’s writing assignment, select three writing assignments from the book or this list and give yourself a deadline by which to complete each. I’d suggest giving yourself two days for each, but you know your schedule. Pick the assignment at random to increase the stakes. Then put it on your calendar, build your writing schedule, and meet the deadlines for all three.

Then come back here and tell us all how you felt when you met three deadlines in a row.

Click here to view and complete previous writing assignments.

And buy a copy of the Writing Assignments book!

The Writing Assignment: Set A Deadline by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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  • Writing Assignment: Set A Deadline | Deborah | Scoop.it January 8, 2012

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