How to Survive a Deadline

Every writer must go through the dreaded process of a deadline. It is an understatement to say that this process can be difficult. How to survive this terrible and ever present event in life...


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    Stop procrastinating. Deadlines wouldn't be so bad if the natural human tendency wasn't to put it off until the last minute. Get started early. Work on it a little bit at a time. Most of the time, deadlines are very manageable.
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    Do it. The hardest part of writing is actually doing it. Nothing will motivate you more than starting - the greatest hurdle is the thought of starting. Put all of your feelings aside and start writing.
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    Keep a steady supply of goodies. Whatever, you like - ice cream, chocolate, candies, a squeeze ball or pieces of paper to throw at the trash can. Great comfort food choices include cheesecake, chocolate, sunflower seeds. Or some soup, crackers, and cheese; anything to keep you comfortable- but try to ensure your health doesn't suffer! Large doses of sugary foods will only hurt your long-term ability to concentrate! Take time to exercise, too- it's good for you and helps you unwind.
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    Back up religiously. This means every few minutes, without fail! There is nothing more disheartening than losing your work for an electrical or technical glitch.
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    Set a daily goal, whether it is a word count, page count, or finishing a major idea. Think of your book, paper or story one chapter or section at a time. Breaking things down into manageable pieces is the key to not being overwhelmed.
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    Relax. Bubble baths are an added bonus for the end of the day. Or anytime you feel stuck and need to unwind and think things through. Make those bubbles pile higher and higher.
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    Be sure to keep away from the TV, the internet and wikiHow. Once you drift away, it will lose you valuable time. And you may not return.


  • Remind yourself it is only a book, only a paper, only one thing in a myriad of things. The world will not end, and no one will die, if you don't finish in time. Life might become unpleasant, but it will continue. Don't give up!
  • Breakdowns are okay. In fact, they are to be expected. It just shows that you're pushing yourself hard- but if you feel depressed even after completing your work, seek professional assistance.
  • Positive attitudes! Believe in yourself.
  • Have an understanding person you can talk to throughout the process. Know that persistent whining will strain the strongest of relationships, so try to find solace within yourself.
  • The subconscious mind is a powerful thing- be sure to take time away from the writing doing things you enjoy to give your brain a rest and let the wheels spin in the background for a while. If you have a massive work due at the end of a deadline, the worst thing you can do is burn yourself out early.
  • Balance is important. If you're exhausting your mind every day, try exhausting your body too- you'll find that one will aid the other in recovery. Take up a sport, martial art, or running!


  • Signs of deadline dementia: you don't know the season, the cats are talking to you, the world is in third person and you haven't eaten a single nutritious thing for about 6 weeks.

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Categories: Better Writing