Friday, March 23, 2012

Deadlines and Commitments

The classic Bob Seger song “Against The Wind” has that great part in it...

Those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out.
As a maturing writer, that passage has taken on new meaning for me.

Yea, the old days are gone (and they’re better left alone... but that’s a Genesis song, not Bob Seger... I digress...)

I’m definitely settled down now so the part about drifter’s days is moot. They’re past me, long gone.

But I do have so much more to think about.

What to leave in or out? That’s the FUN part of writing, so no issue there.

It’s Deadlines and Commitments -- that’s the tricky part.

That’s where things get interesting.

Deadlines for Indie Authors
Deadlines ain’t such a bad thing. As an indie author, I can set my own deadlines.

What date will you release your new novel?

When I decide to.

What date will you have that blog post finished?

When I get to to it.

Now that’s the life!

But... there’s always a but.

Is it really ok to leave the readers waiting for a new novel?

Sure... well... that is if you don’t mind the possibility of losing those precious few who just can’t stand to wait.

So I guess it’s not ok. Short waits are acceptable. Even expected.

But even indie authors can’t string things along forever.

“Striking while the iron is hot” still applies for us indie’s as much as ever.

Maybe even more.

Tread carefully.

Commitments for Indie Authors
There’s balance in everything Daniel-san.

Daniel: When do I learn how to punch? 
Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?
There are some things writers can take liberties with, such as deadlines. Adjust as needed, but you are your own master and can set your own deadlines.

But commitments... now there is something you should never take lightly.

When you get to commitments, even a lax attitude to a deadline must take a backseat.

Say for example you commit to someone that you will have such-and-such task done by so-and-so date.

You better damn well have it done by that date.

Or you better have a really good excuse. It's called being professional!

Even an indie writer needs to keep a professional demeanor.

Again, maybe it’s even MORE important for an indie writer to seem professional.

Let’s face it, this hill we are climbing (all by our little lonesome) is a tough enough nut to tackle as it is. (heehee... mixed metaphors... gotta love ‘em!)

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot right out of the starting gate by presenting yourself as a person completely devoid of professionalism.

Sure, a little bit of first act Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper’s writer character in Limitlesswith Robert DeNiro) is to be expected.
But at some point you gotta pop the metaphorical NZT and start TICKING! (disclaimer -- Paul Philip Carter does not endorse taking illegal or illicit drugs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist. Unless NZT really DOES exist, then, welllll... who’s your dealer?)

It may even be good for you to get up early, shower, shave, get dressed in something other than sweats and at least pretend to be professional for a little while.

Give it a shot. You may be surprised.

And one other thing on commitments... never Never NEVER get stingy on your commitments to your family. Always always put family first. As long as they are sensitive to your deadlines, you should be generous in your time spent with them.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading!



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