Why You Should Be Setting Editing Deadlines

Setting yourself deadlines can be a perfect way to focus the mind. A deadline will stop any dawdling when the work needs to get done. You don't really want edits to run on and on. You run the risk of losing track of the story and characters.

If you're setting a deadline for a round of edits, it needs to be realistic. Don't tell yourself you'll get a massive edit done the same week your day job's going to take all your time and effort. And be prepared to turn down non-editing activities to stick to your deadline. It's an intense process, and getting it done promptly can be a great way to catch all the little problems.

I recently set myself a deadline of a week for a pretty intense edit. I received some amazing feedback from an agent in a rejection and after mulling over it, I decided she had a very good point and set about editing. It took the whole week because it was such a insidious issue, but now I'm happier with my book.

You have to be determined to hit your own deadlines. Rather than setting daily goals when editing, I set myself a week or two weeks to really get something done. And yes, I do make sacrifices. Once you start approaching writing as another job rather than as a hobby, you'll be prepared to make those sacrifices...

...which is why I waited until last week to play The Last of Us. It was worth waiting for. I'm a big fan of rewarding myself for hitting a deadline.

How often do you make and stick to deadlines?


  1. I'm definitely in the 'need to stick to deadlines' camp, though by setting them I seem to invite bad luck and general illness. I set a deadline last week and got about a fortnight of illness for my troubles!

    They do help a *lot*, though, despite the bad luck that follows them for me.

    1. I feel your pain. I had an epic cold during my last deadline, which is probably why it took the whole week. Cue much feverish editing.

  2. Great advice, and I totally agree about treating writing like a job and being willing to make sacrifices. I didn't finish drafting a novel until I adopted that philosophy and put it into action. Glad to hear you got some constructive feedback even if it was part of a rejection. Every little bit helps. Good luck with the querying!

    1. It's not easy, but I know it will be worth it.

      Thank you. Best of luck to you, too :)


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