1-2-3-4 Pressure!

Have you ever noticed how much more you get done when working with a deadline? With the pressure on, you must perform! Are you up for setting a few personal deadlines?

I’ve participated in several challenges that have helped me set deadlines. For example, here it is the end of a month again. Since I am part of the 12 x 12 challenge, my goal is to write at least one new picture book draft every month. Very few months have gone by that I have not completed this goal. So I better get going! I have four days left to meet my deadline. Sing it with me: 1-2-3-4 Pressure! (Thanks, Billy Joel!)


NaPiBoWriWee is another challenge that has helped me achieve more than my fair share- and it starts on May 1. Participants will attempt to complete a picture book draft each day for the first seven days of May. Big goal? Yes! But will it help me achieve more than usual? Yes! 1-2-3-4 Pressure!


Existing challenges aside, you can set your own deadlines, too. Is there a craft book covered in dust that has gone unread? One chapter at a time. Give yourself a realistic deadline, but be sure to push yourself a little bit, too. Is there a revision that you’ve pushed aside for a while? One scene at a time. Again, give yourself a deadline. Is your floor covered in mentor texts (like mine)? Use the library return date as your deadline. Come on! 1-2-3-4 pressure!

Critique groups are another great way to light a fire under your buns. For example, my critique group sends a manuscript at the beginning of each month. (Uh oh! That deadline is coming for me again! 1-2-3-4 pressure!) I try to have my new manuscript or significant revision ready by that time to keep the momentum flowing forward.

Don’t overdo it, though. It’s easy to burn out when you set too many deadlines for yourself, but a little pressure should go a long way. And if you need outside motivation, then consider an accountability partner or participating in one of the many challenges that are out there. Oh! I almost forgot! Don’t forget to reward yourself when you make progress. Small achievements matter, too! (Just like pressure, a little chocolate goes a long way.)

Tell me: What deadlines do you set for yourself?


  1. I’m always putting pressure on myself! But I don’t get myself wrapped up in schedules and outside pressures if possible. Teaching for 35 years makes me want to take my writing life at its own pace, day by day, according to how I feel. And that works for me! Thanks for your post and inspiration, Carrie.


  2. I’m in 12 by 12 also and have had success with the monthly deadlines. At first I put writing off until the end of the month and almost froze myself with fright. Some of the early drafts reflect that. Now I meet the deadlines earlier and write better first drafts. I go back and look at some of last year’s stories and see my growth. I see that I could combine some weak stories and make something that is more than the sum of the parts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s