When I was at school and then university one of the things that got my act together the most when it came to writing essays was a looming deadline. I work well under pressure (or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t work well when there is a lack of pressure) so deadlines work very well for me and I set them for myself in my blogging on a regular basis.
Deadlines need to be used with caution (they actually can be the cause of bloggers block for some people) but I find that having posting goals and deadlines helps me to keep fresh content turning over on my blog.
Deadlines can take a number of forms and can range from setting yourself a daily posting goal to starting a series of posts (ie tell everyone that over the next week you’ll write a post per day on a certain topic and you’ve suddenly made yourself accountable to writing something every day – other people waiting for a post can be just the motivation you need).
Another type of deadline that I know a few bloggers use is to have a blog buddy who they keep themselves accountable to by telling them their goals and asking the other blogger to check up on them. I know one blogger who does this same thing with his wife – she reads and counts his posts every night (quality and quantity check) – not to check up on him because she doesn’t trust him – but because he finds that it helps to keep him motivated to know someone is watching with that purpose in mind.
One note of qualification – deadlines suit my personality type but I don’t recommend them for everyone. Try them but if they cause you more stress then they are worth and they decrease the quality of your work rather than increase then give them away and find some other methods to keep you inspired.
Read more of the Bloggers Block Series
Let me add another type of deadline I picked up from Lileks: a timer.
I have an egg timer on my desk. Recently, I wanted to write a book review for my web site. This usually entails a first, very rough draft, followed by revisions. I’d print out a copy and check it for errors, and carry it around for a couple of days. Maybe in total it took 90 minutes, but you have to factor in the “back of the mind” time and the wear that causes as well.
This time, I set the timer for 30 minutes and resolved that that was all I was going to devote to this.
I bashed that sucker out in 28 minutes. There were some revisions afterwards, but overall I saved a lot of time and mental effort in getting it done, and the review was much better than I expected.
Sometimes, the pressure to create forces the mind to operate at peak efficiency.
I used to think that I was a procrastinator, because nothing ever got done until the last minute. Now, I realize that I need deadlines in order to prioritize the many things going on in my life.
I no longer even think of it as procrastination — but as working to deadline.
Hey Bill, that egg timer sounds interesting. What kind of a clock is that anyhow?
To really solve bloggers block, it would be great if the egg actually broke every time you past the deadline hehe.
Get cracking! err…blogging.
I can’t really work on a deadline because I flop under pressure. I have to live a little freely, and same with my writing. I try not to let myself feel hurried at all so that I can write more effectively. Deadlines work for 95% of the population but not me for some reason.
Great idea. If everyone would post frequently wouldn’t it make the net so much better? Deadlines I think will work for most people. As you continualy work on deadlines I am sure the nerves will go away and you will become a pro at meeting your deadlines.
I was posting once a day, now I’ve slowed down to once in two days, because I need to propagate my blog more. So far I didn’t have any block, but I guess it’s because I’m blogging just few weeks. I’m curious when my first “blogger’s block” arrives… Regarding deadlines, I know they work for me. Even if I don’t meet the deadline, I’ll do much more than if I didn’t have any specific time target.
Speaking of deadlines, I’m also one of those people who don’t work without pressure. This is a good method to keep me writing. But, always remember to announce some vacation if you feel that you can’t breathe.