We’ve all been there. Your kids accuse you of parental treason. Your house resembles an episode of hoarders with last week’s trash smelling suspiciously of pepperoni. You swear that pajama pants can be dressed up. You’ll just throw on something besides flip flops. Really.
The reason for the insanity? You have a manuscript deadline. It doesn’t matter if it’s set by you or by a publisher. It’s still a date on the calendar that ticks away and taunts you every time you indulge in that fifteen minute phone call or two-minute viewing of the latest Magic Mike movie trailer.
Here are my tips for tackling the project without losing your mind.
1. Respect your need for healthy food. Writers tend to do a lot of snacking. This won’t help your energy levels if you are feeding your body too many sugars and not enough nutrition. If you need to spend time other than writing, make a trip to grocery store for fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
2. Prioritize your social life. You only have a limited number of free hours (maybe minutes) for things unrelated to writing, and you’ll need to choose which can’t be missed.
3. Make a to-do list. Prioritize that list. Then understand that you may never make it to the end of the list. And realistically, those items at the bottom may be throw-aways.
4. Ask for help. I’m the world’s worst on this one. Husbands, wives, grandparents, and friends really want to know how they can help. If they ask, give them something. Hand that person your grocery list or carpooling duty.
5. Get off the internet. For a writer, the internet may seem like a necessary evil. Have you ever logged the amount of time you spend on email and social media? If this is killing your productivity, you must choose. Some people are disciplined enough to set a timer. You know your tendencies. You may have to unplug.
These may all seem like common sense, but how many of us get bogged down in the tyranny of the moment? What’s your best tip for handling a stressful deadline?
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family. She’s obsessed with cairn terriers, Kings of Leon, new technology and sandy beaches. She’s also terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.