Do You Give Your Writing Goals Deadlines?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My goals have to have deadlines. They hold me accountable, and require me to make discernible progress. I have to make a certain word count every day. Editing needs to be done by a particular date. The manuscript has to be ready to send out no later than a specific day. Without deadlines, I have no compelling reason to go read a book or watch TV rather than writing.

I know that there are people who are internally motivated, and will do what needs to be done no matter what. They work on something diligently until it is done, and they don’t need a stick in the ground to measure their progress. I admire them. That’s not me. For as much as I love writing, I do not have that much natural discipline.

That said, the goals that have deadlines need to be within your control. I have a deadline for completing the first draft of this novel. After that, I will set a deadline for editing, rewrites, and querying. I can’t set a deadline for getting published, unless I’m self-publishing. I can’t control what other people are buying, or what their printing and marketing schedules are.

Do You Give Your Writing Goals Deadlines?

Okay reader, this is where I shut up and you take over. Do you give yourself deadlines for your writing goals? You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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