Navigating A Writing Deadline: 3 Free Tips

Published by Algorithmic Global on

Writing deadline clock and pad of paper

While these compiled tips are gold for meeting a writing deadline, they are useful for any time-sensitive project!

A writing deadline always seems manageable at first. I have two weeks? Sure! Need that by the end of the day? No problem!

However, without a dedicated strategy in place, the deadline can turn into the end-of-school bell–you’re staring at the clock as the seconds tick away, counting down until your time is up. Except for this time, for the unprepared, it’s not a good thing.

This article will provide you with three useful tips for navigating your way around a writing deadline. You’ll learn how to use the clock in your favor to supercharge your productivity.

Why do we need a writing deadline in the first place?

The world runs according to the clock. There are schedules and plans, each of which depends on the product’s completion by the expected time. 

Think of your deadline from the recipient’s viewpoint: your content is the package they’ve been waiting for, looking out their window for the box to arrive. Without that package, they can’t do their job.

The writing deadline can affect quality. After all, rushing a piece of content’s delivery will increase the chance the box will arrive held together by bits of tape. It can also affect quantity. The package might turn out to be smaller than anticipated.

The key is to make the deadline work for you, helping you clarify your plan so you can produce the expected results.

3 tips for your writing deadline

Before we dive into the list, it’s essential to know yourself.

I’ll repeat it: know yourself.

Are you the type of person who can knock out a thousand words in an hour, no problem?

Or, does the thought of writing a post fill you with dread? 

Each of these two ends of the spectrum will inform how you approach the three tips.

monthly planner written in cursive

Plan ahead

The first tip to take the sting out of your writing deadline doesn’t involve writing at all. It’s the prewriting, the stuff that takes place in your mind before your fingers hit the keyboard (this phrase used to be putting pen to paper, but it’s 2020).

Think about the topic of your piece. Play with some different ideas. It might help if you write them down, but it’s not necessary.

Thoughts about potential topics should be swirling around from the moment you get the assignment. Or, if your project is handed to you, spend some time thinking about interesting connections to other relevant topics and how you can connect the dots for your audience.

light bulb with six ideas

Sketch out ideas

Once you have some ideas ready, put them on paper. Then walk away, letting your subconscious play around with the options until the path forward becomes clear. 

If possible, get at least one night’s sleep before writing anything more. 

This step should occur at least a day before the deadline so that you can go to bed, but if you are one of the people who struggle with deadlines, perform this step as soon as possible. Some people need more time to digest than others!

Mini-deadlines

Remember how I told you the deadline should work for you? This step is where you make it happen. It will look vastly different for writers of different speeds. But the underlying principles are the same.

Create checkpoints for yourself–self-imposed deadlines. Word counts for different days before the deadline are particularly useful for people who take longer creating content.

During the actual act of writing, try out mini-sprints. These can either be writing for a set amount of time, like ten minutes writing and five minutes resting, or hitting a word count in a chunk of time, like five hundred words in an hour.

Whichever option you choose, creating mini-deadlines puts the power into your hands to meet the overarching deadline for the entire piece.

Does everyone have a writing deadline?

It’s fair to say that everyone has a writing deadline, even if it’s self-imposed. Nobody sets out to write a novel without some idea of how long it should take.

When it comes to content creation, a writing deadline is mandatory. A content strategy’s success depends on consistency, and this can only occur with a writing deadline.

How do you set a realistic writing deadline?

To set a realistic writing deadline, you have to know your capabilities. Are you a fast writer? A slow writer? How much editing will your piece need?

A realistic writing deadline can be created by adding up how long it will take to develop an idea, choose a unique angle to approach the topic, churn out a draft, and edit the piece. Then, add in a buffer to account for any hiccups along the way.

Does writing quality suffer close to a deadline?

Writing close to a deadline can affect quality, but only if it’s not part of the strategy. A better way to think of this is to question if rushed writing causes the quality to suffer, which is almost always yes.

As long as writing close to the deadline is part of the plan made with your unique strengths in mind, the quality doesn’t necessarily suffer.

A warning for fast writers: DON’T PUSH YOUR PRODUCTION UNTIL THE LAST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY. Sure, you could get it done in time, but can you guarantee the quality?

Woman sitting down working on computer

Sitting down to write.

Meeting a writing deadline comes down to sitting in a chair and putting thoughts into words, even on uninspired days.

Truth be told, if someone were reading your content from the days when the words flowed like water to the days when every letter is made of molasses, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.

Algorithmic Global specialized in working with restoration professionals, amplifying their internet presence with individualized content strategies. These strategies almost always include regular blog posts, each of which has its writing deadline.

Are you struggling with meeting a writing deadline? We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments or reach out via our contact page.

Categories: Copywriting

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