My dear friend and award-winning author, Sophia Nash, has offered an English-countryside worth of invaluable advice to me over the last few years on my path to publication. I’m inching closer each day, in large part because I hear her voice rooting me on.
A few days ago I wrote about discipline and never missing a deadline for a client. But how about if the client is yourself? I’m paraphrasing here, but Sophia’s message was this: Impose your own deadline. Circle a realistic date on your calendar and meet it, whether it’s a chapter, a first draft or a novel you’ve been writing for ten years.
So, despite my not being a “set a goal” type of person, I listened. I circled a date to finish The Cemetery Garden and I finished it. I sent it out into the world in search of the perfect agent and now spend way too much writing-time staring at the phone, waiting for THE CALL. November 30 was my deadline to finish the first draft of my next novel and I accomplished my goal (even though parts are sketchy!) January 31, 2008 is my first revision deadline. And now that I’ve shared that, I’ll need to meet it. Because everyone knows when you tell someone you are going to stop eating cookies at night, and you sneak into the pantry to nab a few, the only person you’re hurting is yourself.