Monday, September 14, 2015

Rachael Thomas & The Dilemma of Deadlines

Please welcome Rachael Thomas to the blog today!


The Dilemma of Deadlines
As a published writer, deadlines become part of the routine, but learning to work to deadlines is something that I tried to do even as I worked on my first manuscript. Why put that sort of pressure on yourself if you haven’t reached your dream of becoming a published writer yet? Because without deadlines to keep me focused, I would have been in danger of missing my goal. 
I was a member of Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme for seven years before I finally achieved my goal of publication. On this scheme I was able to submit one full manuscript for critique each year and the deadline for this submission was the end of August. With enrolment onto the scheme opening at the beginning of the year, this gave me my ‘final’ deadline. Into the eight months leading up to that deadline I set myself ‘mini’ deadlines, such as, to be half way through the story by a certain time. Then I calculated how many words I would need to write each day or week to achieve first the mini deadline, then the final deadline. 
I firmly believe that the sooner you condition yourself to working to deadlines, the easier everything will be when you achieve your dream of publication. Once you get over the excitement of having a book published, deadlines will become a normal part of your writing calendar and if you don’t meet them, you will be letting down a lot of people waiting on your book to fill their schedule.
My tips for working to deadlines.

  1. Make them achievable. It’s no good setting yourself a target of two thousand words a day if your daily life is not going to allow you to reach that target and believe me, when I say that continually not meeting your daily target will make you miserable and knock you right off course.
  2. Don’t become distracted. Your writing is important, so give yourself the time you deserve in which to write. Carve out a set time each day or week for that purpose, even if it’s as little as half an hour a day. The words you write in that half an hour will soon build up.
  3. Don’t be intimidated. You’ve worked hard for weeks or months and the final deadline is in sight and it’s very easy to become intimidated by it. That is the point when anything, and I mean anything, usually becomes more appealing than writing, no matter how much you want to meet your deadline. This is the point I tell myself I will write for just ten minutes then go and tackle the ironing or mop the floor, but usually find that the enforced ten minutes is enough to stem the need to be a domestic goddess and focus on my story.
  4. Enjoy writing. Whatever scheduling you decide to use to reach your final deadline, always make it realistic and ensure it doesn’t put so much pressure on you that you lose the fun and enjoyment of writing. After all, that’s why we do it.
Rachael Thomas Bio
I grew up in the Midlands, but when I moved to Wales, over twenty years ago, I found a place to finally put down roots. I married into a farming family and embarked on a massive learning curve which also saw me learning Welsh when my two children were small.
Writing is something I have always wanted to do and I can still remember the thrill of one of my short stories being held up as an example to the class when I was about nine. It wasn’t until my own children were in school that I seriously started to pursue my dream. I joined a local writing group which met every Monday afternoon and being with like-minded people was the boost I needed.

Reading romance had always been my first love, and just about every short story I wrote was romance, so I decided to write my first book. During that process I also attended my first weekend writing course with Kate Walker and joined the RNA’s fabulous New Writers’ Scheme. A short time later I joined Romance Writers of Australia and learnt a lot from entering their competitions. I sought out courses and you can imagine my joy when I discovered Sharon Kendrick’s course in beautiful Tuscany.

Behind the Scandalous Fa├žade, my So You Think You Can Write entry, is my thirteenth book and although only eight have those magic words ‘the end’ written on them the others are definitely part of the learning process I have enjoyed over the last six years.

I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.

Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads

One Night To Wife

A souvenir from her Greek affair! 

Mogul Nikos Petrakis is on the verge of a deal that will make him even more powerful. He doesn't need any distraction—especially not a sexy redhead whose curves beg to be touched! But now that she's carrying his heir, Nikos is forced to make a decision.

It's time to make Serena his wife!

When one night…leads to pregnancy!

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Harlequin US

Three months ago, journalist Serena James had her heart broken by a man she'll never forget, especially not the fury in his eyes the night they parted. Now she's back in Santorini to tell him that their summer fling had unexpected repercussions…
Great advice! It's amazing how appealing cleaning the bathroom can be when we're trying to avoid a tough scene!! Any more deadline tips to share???


  1. That's a great idea to set deadlines for yourself. I'm not sure why I never thought of it before. It would probably make the publisher deadlines much less scary because you'd know you could handle them already. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Deadlines do keep us focused. During my days as a journalist I seem to work best when I had a deadline hanging over my head. Great tips, Rachael. Wishing you much success.

    Jemi, thanks for the introduction to Rachael.

  3. I think the most important thing you mentioned is setting an achievable goal. More important to build a habit than to set a really high word count goal. :)

  4. When I'm writing, I always set aside a chunk of time to do it and I write no matter what.

  5. me is usually ahead of all deadlines... actually so much that my publishers tends to count on me to save the day and take all other unfinished business since I always finish before deadline :) This summer instead of doing five books before the deadline, I added three more :)

  6. If you're just focusing on the big goal, it's intimidating. I'm all about setting smaller goals so I can see I'm making progress.

  7. Deadlines and distractions. Always in battle with each other. It's great to meet Rachel and thanks for the tips!

  8. Great advice. Even after having several books published, I make my own deadlines beyond those by my publisher.

    Susan Says

  9. Hi Natalie, pleased to have helped. I've always worked to my own self imposed deadlines. Sometimes I didn't meet them, but it kept me focused.

    Thanks for the good luck wishes Mason and I totally get what you mean about working better with a deadline looming!

    Making your goal achievable is the key to meeting your deadlines and when you do that, you feel good. Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth.

    You sound very focused Alex J!

  10. Wow Dezmond, sounds like you've got it sorted. Well done!

    So true L. Diana! Saying you'll write a page is so much easier than saying you'll write a book.

    Thanks for stopping by Stephen - and you're right, deadlines and distractions seem to go hand in hand!

    It's great to know I'm not the only one doing that Susan!

  11. I think setting deadlines for what you need to do to manage all the things in your life makes perfect sense. I make lists each day, but I haven't told myself to get things done by a certain time. I might try jotting that down next to my item. Enjoyed reading your post!

  12. Setting personal deadlines is a great idea. My problem lies in distractions. Like butterflies and the Internet. My puppy doesn't help either.

  13. Thanks Cleemckenzie and you are right, setting deadlines helps to manage all things in life.

    Distractions are the worst demon for deadlines T.Powell - and I'm looking for a puppy right now, so I guess that will add to the distraction too! It's good to have nice distractions right?

  14. Great tips! I agree, it's good to get used to deadlines as early as possible. Makes things less stressful in the long run!

  15. Totally agree about deadlines. I've always done the same thing. Deadlines and goals are a great combination. Great meeting you.

    Hi, Jemi!

  16. It does make life less stressful in the long run Heather!

    Nice to meet you too Carol!

  17. Agree about deadlines. Deadlines make me productive.

    Congrats on your book release Rachael!

  18. Setting our own deadlines is definitely a good thing as it helps with staying focussed. I agree that we need to break down what we're going to do to meet that deadline. Great tips!

  19. Rachael - thanks again for dropping by! :)

    Natalie - I'm with you - self-imposed deadlines are a great idea!

    Mason - deadlines work well for me too at work - haven't tried it at home yet :)

    Elizabeth - those achievable goals are so important.

    Alex - an excellent plan!

    Dezzy - that's amazing! Translating is NOT an easy task - and doing it so quickly is impressive :)

    Diane - those small goals help me too!

    Stephen - they are indeed!

    Susan - that doesn't surprise me - you're always so organized!

    Lee - I use the Scrivener word count target to help me out when writing!

    Teresa - those cute distractions!

    Heather - exactly!!

    Carol - they are!

    RBH - deadines do become more comfortable with practice!

    Nick - still working on that breakdown for myself! ;)

  20. I like deadlines and schedules. Like you say they keep you focused. I'm bad about setting up my own, but it's something I need to do.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  21. Wonderful advice! I especially like the part about setting goals that work with your schedule so you don't keep falling short. Just what I needed to hear right now. Wishing Rachel the best of luck!

  22. Thanks for the congrats Romance Book Haven!

    Thanks Nick for stopping by!

    Thanks for inviting me again Jemi!

    Making your own deadlines really does help Arlee.

    Glad to help Jess and thanks for the good luck wishes!

  23. Great tips about deadlines. I always break up the work by day or by week, even by pages or by chapters, so that everything looks achievable.

  24. Lee - me too! I have lots of deadlines at work, so I tend to not do them at home :)

    Jess - realism is important!!

    Medeia - you're the deadline queen! :)

  25. Setting deadlines is an important way I've been able to keep at my writing. I truly believe that if I treat it like a job, I take it (and myself) more seriously.

  26. Good tips. That writing time should be sacred.
    Congrats on your release!

  27. Deadlines are even more important once you've landed a publisher, and you have to know how to reach them, especially while under pressure from promotions. Great thoughts!


  28. Hi Jemi!
    Thanks for hosting Rachael Thomas! Awesome post!

  29. I give myself a lot of deadlines, but I give myself a bit more flexibility than someone else would, because my life is making a strict schedule a bit impossible at the moment.

    I still get through a lot more work than I would have without those deadlines, though.

  30. My deadlines never work. I always break it. Congrats on your book release Rachael.

    Hi Jemi.

  31. Beth - so true!!

    JL - it really should (doesn't always happen here yet!) :)

    Crystal - so very true!

    Nas - thanks :)

    Misha - I have to work on that!

    NRB - I have to work on it as well!