Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Deadlines


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Making it Through

It's the season of school. Homeschool. And a super tight deadline looming overhead. AND a myriad of life stressors that make daily life challenging. My face looks pretty much like my son's in this photo. Intensively concentrating and focused. 

Do you find yourself going through stages of life like this? When balancing it all feels like more than a juggling act and instead, a complete plea for some miracles?

People ask me how I do it all? I usually respond "who says I do?"  LOL! But truly, my prayer is consistently that the Lord will redeem the time for me. That I will be centered in His grace and strength. That I will prioritize what He wants me to prioritize. 

I think sometimes we have a dream--at least I do--of that perfect writing day or week. Rainy. Comfy sweater. Coffee. Silence. A slow morning. Then curl up for a long concentrated period of time to whisk myself away into the world of imagination. 

It's been a long time since that's happened for me! As it is, I'm up before the rest of the family this morning. Yes, there's rain and a comfy sweater, but my task list in my project management software is long. My Virtual Assistant/Social Media Management business demanding me to meet a different set of deadlines. So while my characters lurk in the back of my brain and keep pounding "don't forget us and this deadline", I've already made coffee and am plugging away on the task list.

There's no simple checklist to maintaining a peaceful balance. I wish there was. Just prayer and lots of it. Some days, I just want to cry. Others, I feel like I can do this forever. Most days, I muddle through and wonder what it will be like in eternity ... will we have deadlines there too?

Are you in a season where you could use some extra strength, wisdom, and faith? What do you do to make it through? 


Making it Through
Jaime Jo Wright loves to read—and write—fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance from her home in Wisconsin. She's a coffee drinker by day and night, lives in dreamland, and exists in reality. 

Find her at or

Dealing With Deadlines

Dealing With Deadlines
Hello everyone, Winne Griggs here. 
Right off the bat, let me apologize for the brevity of this post. I’m on deadline right now and for a number of reasons, not all of them under my control, I got behind schedule. So now I’m in catch up mode with a number of ‘burning the midnight oil’ sessions ahead of me between now and my actual deadline.

So what I thought I’d do today, in place of my planned post, was to list a few tips and quotes for dealing with deadlines, something for my benefit as well as yours.

Dealing With Deadlines

First, some things to help keep you from deadline panic mode 

  • Don’t Set Yourself Up To Fail
    Most of us have a say in the deadlines before they are set in stone. Make sure you know your capabilities, whether it be words/day or words/week. And keep in mind this is a number you can maintain consistently. For me that number is fairly low – 750 words/day with an occasional 1200 word day. Then I pull out a calendar and block off holidays, conferences I plan to attend and family events such as vacations. I also bake in time – for me it’s 3 days a month – where I cut my word count in half to allow for research and other unexpected interruptions. After I’ve laid all that out I see how long it will take me to get the first draft done. Then I add 3-4 weeks for polishing and revision.

    By the way, I’m a spreadsheet nerd and have a handy-dandy spreadsheet I’ve developed over the years to track all of this – if any of you are interested in obtaining a copy just let me know.
  • Don’t Over Commit
    Whether it be to another writing project that comes up unexpectedly that you hope to squeeze in, or other social or family projects or activities that you’re tempted to participate in, be realistic when you evaluate how they will impact the deadline you’ve already committed to. Learn the power of saying no.
  • Don’t Procrastinate
    This is a biggie for me. I’m especially bad about this when I reach the 40-50% point in my WIP. It’s at that point that I start wondering if this story is any good, if I’ve lost my ability to create a coherent story, if I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Once I hit this wall it’s easier for me to do just about anything else than to face my writing demons and push through. One solution for this is to have an accountability partner, someone you check in with once a week or so. And hopefully this is a program you can turn to if you need help brainstorming your way past a story wall or imposter syndrome type feelings.

Dealing With Deadlines

Some things to help if you do find yourself in deadline trouble 

  • Eliminate Distractions
    Staying focused at this point is absolutely crucial. As difficult as it may be for many of us, shut down all social media sites, let family members know when you’re writing you aren’t to be disturbed except for emergencies, and put off or delegate whatever chores or errands you have on your plate until your deadline is met.
  • Adjust your work hours
    To the best of your abilities, increase the amount of time you dedicate to your writing each day, even if that means you get fewer hours of sleep on a temporary basis. Of course, this is a strategy of diminishing returns – it’s not something you can maintain for a long stretch of time.
  • Take breaks
    This may be counter-intuitive, but taking (short) breaks is a good way to keep your mind focused and sharp and your creativity flowing. You also need to make sure you eat regularly and keep yourself hydrated. Just make sure you keep the breaks brief and don’t get lost in social media or other distractions that can sabotage your plans. Set a timer if you need to.

Dealing With Deadlines

And what do you do if worse comes to worse and you actually miss a deadline?

It happens. So how do you handle it?

  • Communicate
    It's absolutely critical that as SOON as it becomes obvious you’re not going to make it, inform everyone it’s going to impact – your agent, your editor any freelancers you’ve contracted with. They need to know as soon as possible so they can make the appropriate  adjustments. And if you negotiate an extended deadline, whatever you do make absolutely sure, barring acts of God, that you’re able to hit it
  • Learn From Your Mistakes
    Analyze what went wrong. Were you were optimistic in how much you can produce daily/weekly on average? Did you fail to take interruptions into account - like holidays, travel days, edit & promo activity on previous books? Did unexpected illnesses or family emergencies hit you? Whatever the case, try to figure some way to learn from it and factor that lesson into your next occasion to negotiate a deadline.
Dealing With Deadlines

Dealing With Deadlines

There you have it, my short and sweet list of how to deal with deadlines. And yes, the fact that I'm in catch-up mode right now makes this post a case of do as I say, not as I do!  :)

What about you - do you have any tips or pointers to add? Lessons learned you'd like to share?

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for winner's choice of any book from my backlist.

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

I just finished my thirteenth novel and squeaked it in only a few days past the deadline.

I know, I know. I should have gotten it in BEFORE the deadline. After all, I knew about this deadline far in advance…almost three years in advance.

So why didn’t I turn this book in on time? Or even early?

That’s what this blog post is about.

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

As I’ve watched my children become adults – they range in age from twenty-five to thirty-five years old – I’ve learned a lot about adulting.

  • I've learned to never, ever leave God out of the equation.
  • I’ve learned that life doesn’t just “happen.” Life is a series of consequences of decisions we’ve made along the way.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how much you try to prevent it, things don’t stay nice and orderly. It’s the second law of thermodynamics: over time, everything breaks down and tends toward disorder. Do you need an example? Just clean your child’s room then check back in a couple days. Disorder! Entropy!
  • I’ve learned that I will never have more time to do “X” later.

That last one is the kicker. When life becomes URGENT and IMPORTANT I tend to put off less important things until after I’ve met whatever deadline is looming. (See my earlier blog post about urgent and important matters here.)

“I’ll have time next week,” I tell myself. “Right after I finish this book.” Or “Right after I’ve house trained the puppy.” Or “Once the children are grown.”

Well, let me tell you something: You will never have more time tomorrow.

If you’ve been following my life for the past several months, you know that we moved from our house in town to our retirement home in the country. The move itself took months…. And all during that time I was working on this book.

As we packed boxes, painted rooms, replaced carpeting, filled storage units, and scheduled the moving company, I told myself, “Won’t it be great when we finally move out of this house and I’ll have time to write?”

And then, while we were living in temporary housing for a month (with three different gracious friends!) I told myself, “Won’t it be great when we’re finally in our new house and I’ll have time to write?”

And then, after we were moved in, I told myself, “Won’t it be great when I finally finish this book and I have time to unpack and get settled in?”

Remember what I said about having more time “tomorrow?”

This is what my office/library looks like right now:

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

I sent my book to my editor more than two weeks ago. Two weeks!

Look at the other corner of my office/library.

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

What were we saying about entropy?

An adult would pull her big girl panties up and take care of this chaotic mess. Forget about entropy – we’re already there!

An adult would figure out how to do it.

“But,” I sputter, “I have to get started on the next book!”

“But,” you sputter, “I have to make dinner!” or “My daughter has a big soccer game!” or “I have to take my mom to the doctor!”

“I’ll have more time once all this urgent stuff is taken care of.”

Man, oh, man, this adulting stuff is hard.

But, you know, we can be adults. No matter what our physical age is, we can do this.


You Won't Have Time Tomorrow

Not necessarily in that order!

Because the biggest and most important thing I’ve learned about adulting is that God is in every detail.

That big way you messed up twenty years ago? God can use it for your good and His glory.

That tragedy that is affecting you and your family? God can use it for your good and His glory.

Those wasted, wasted hours playing silly computer games when you should have been working? Give them to God. Only He can restore the years the locusts have eaten… (Joel 2:25)

So, how is this going to make a difference for my next deadline?

  • I’m going to use my Bullet Journal and the Eisenhower matrix to plan and prioritize every day. (See that blog post here – it’s the same one I sent you to earlier!)
  • I’m going to use my best creative hours for writing. I know I write best in the early morning (five to seven) and in the midday hours (ten to three,) so I will schedule a writing session during one or both of those times every day.
  • I’m going to make time for Bible study and quiet time.
  • I’m going to make time to spend time with people (aka, get out of my writing cave.)
  • Just like I schedule my writing time, I’m going to schedule time for those other tasks that seem overwhelming (like unpacking and organizing our new home!)

Like many of you, I've been called by God - to be His child, to glorify Him, and to communicate the gospel through the written word.

My responsibility is to fulfill that calling in the best and most effective way possible for me. 

Your responsibility is to fulfill that calling in the best and most effective way possible for you.

But we can learn from each other! In the comments, share the ways you've succeeded in meeting deadlines or meeting your goals. Or you can share what hasn't worked for you.

(For example, NaNoWriMo works for a LOT of people - but not for me.)

And feel free to use your comment to ask for NaNo buddies - it's almost November!

One commenter will win a copy of one of my two new releases - either The Roll of the Drums or An Amish Christmas Kitchen. Just let us know which one you'd prefer!

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow
Order here!

You Won't Have Time Tomorrow
Order here!

Managing Deadlines

Managing Deadlines
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

"As sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives..." (Okay, I probably just showed my age with this one. Bonus points if you can cite this reference in your comments.)

Writing deadlines.

The pre-published crave them. The oft-published deal with them. The smart writer plans for them.

But how? What steps can an author take to ensure that she makes her deadlines consistently and endears herself to her editors?

1) Be Honest. Be honest with yourself. When that contract offer comes in and everything is shiny and possible, it's easy to commit to a deadline that is unrealistic. Take a deep breath, truly evaluate your schedule, your obligations, and your writing capabilities. Take the time of year into account, holidays, vacations, school events, etc. For me, I avoid January 1st deadlines because I am the bookkeeper for the family business, and the last two weeks of December are slammed for me as I finish up responsibilities and meet with the accountant, etc. I also take into account things I love. Like March Madness. As a rabid Kansas Jayhawks fan, I know I will be glued to the TV to watch their progress as they make yet another DEEP run in the tournament. (Note my total confidence!) Also, reckon for your writing style. Are you a fast-draft kind of writer? Plotter, pantser? Blitzer? Teaser? How fast do you normally write? Can you realistically knock out a quality 90K word novel in three months? Or will it take you four, five or six? Are you a one-book-per-year author? Be honest in your evaluation, because you want to love the process of writing, not be all stressed out and cranky because you've set yourself a nearly-impossible task.

Managing Deadlines

2) Plan Some Down Time. If you have X amount of words and Y number of days to your deadline, don't divide to get exactly how many words you need and assume you will do that every day over your writing period. Plan in days when you know you won't be able to write, or days when you don't plan to write at all. Your brain needs some time to refuel and relax in order to create your best stuff. Factor in interruptions, illness, and the unexpected and give yourself some wiggle room.

3) Plan Some Writing Marathons. Especially in the beginning and at the end of your story, when you know how things are going to unfold with your plot. Get a lot written up front and at the end when you tend to write faster because you know how the story needs to finish. Some writers take a weekend or two away to really pound out the words. If this isn't feasible for you, sequester yourself away from family and obligations to focus on your work. Hire a babysitter, send the kids to grandma's, trade weekend babysitting with someone. Get your family on board with your need for solitude and then crank out the words.

4) Set Goals. If you sit down every day with no expectation of what you're going to accomplish, chances are, you're not going to get as much done as you had hoped. Choose a word goal, or a scene goal. Aim for something that will stretch you, and then sit down and do it! The doing it is the most important part here. It's fine to set goals and talk about goals and all, but you have to actually do the work in order to accomplish them. It's like the old "I want to write vs. I want to have written." You can't just dream about making your deadline, you have to actually strive to do it.

Managing Deadlines

5) Plan your Daily Life. Make meal menus, shop in bulk, prep meals ahead. Group your errands, set aside a time to blitz-clean your house. Get as many ducks in a row as you can ahead of time so you're not having to break away from your story just as the words start to flow. A little organization up front can make a huge difference. And don't be afraid to say 'no' to some requests for your time. Treat your deadline as inflexible. There will be obstacles and barriers to your perfect writing time. Treat those as challenges to work around and through and don't make excuses.

6) Realize Your Deadline Isn't About Just You. Publishers set deadlines in their contracts because they have many, many plans to make regarding your novel. There are so many steps that have to happen after you turn in your book, and they have to happen in a timely and organized manner. Several rounds of edits and rewrites, proofing, typesetting, printing, cover design, marketing plans, publicity plans, and so much more. Until your book is in their hands, most of these things can't really get going. If you're late with your work, it pushes EVERYTHING back. And, you will get a reputation as an author that cannot be relied upon to keep her word. Don't get me wrong. Life can and will interfere with your plans, and sometimes missing a deadline is unavoidable. But you must do everything realistically possible to hold up your end of the bargain.

7) Communicate. Tell your agent and your editor where you are with the manuscript, keep them up to speed. If it looks like you're going to need an extension, let them know as soon as you can. Don't wait until midnight on the day your ms is due. And don't 'go dark' hoping they won't remember about your story's due date.

Managing Deadlines

I'm currently on deadline. December 1st my story The Accidental Earl is due. Knowing I would have family visiting for two weeks in October, I really hit my writing hard in the lead-up. When Nov. 1st rolls around, I'll have 30 days to finish. My family has been great, taking over shopping and cooking chores and generally not complaining about me writing into the early evening. They're troopers!

Deadlines can be intimidating, exhilarating, and extremely motivating. But meeting them won't happen by accident. But with a little planning and some hard work, you can meet your deadlines without drama.

Managing Deadlines

Question for you: How do you respond to deadlines? Do you dread them or relish them?
Managing Deadlines
Managing Deadlines
Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she is married to her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!

Melisande Verity, works at Garamond's, and she's won the commission to create the perfect Christmas window displays for the season, and hopefully to win the store the prestigious Victoria's Prize. If she does, perhaps she can earn enough money to send her younger sister to music school....and just perhaps, she might catch the notice of her boss, Gray Garamond.

Gray is not convinced that Melisande is the one for the job, but he's resigned to his grandfather's choice. When the elder Mr. Garamond suffers a stroke, Gray takes charge of the store, and the old man asks Melisande to show Gray the true meaning of Christmas, that it isn't profits and sales, but rather the people that matter.

Available HERE: or wherever you shop for fine Christian Fiction. 

Don't forget...Books make great gifts, and Christmas books make GREAT Christmas gifts! 
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