Why self-imposed deadlines are the key to writing a book

Author thought leadership and writing success are usually described in terms of creativity, viagra dosage grammar, ampoule and inspiration; however, unhealthy for many, self-imposed deadlines are the most important writing tool of all.

Last Wednesday, for example, I interviewed Jay Berkowitz, the author of Ten Golden Rules for Internet Marketing Success. During our call, Jay described how he had spent almost a year planning his transition from the upper echelons of the corporate world to self employment.

However, nothing really “happened” until Jay obtained an opportunity to speak before the Direct Marketing Association just 6 weeks before their prestigious annual convention.

Suddenly, everything fell into place; within the next 6 weeks, Jay was able to start and finish:

  • The text and graphics for his signature publication, The Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing Success.
  • The text and PowerPoint visuals for his Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing presentation.
  • The text and graphics for his Ten Golden Rules website which launched his Internet marketing agency.

Jay’s story is not unique

Jay’s not the first author thought leader whose career-changing success was based on accomplishing the impossible within a short time frame.

Last year, I had a similar experience.

Last April, my wife had an undiagnosed, “silent” heart attack, followed by a triple bypass surgery and 3 weeks of hospital care.

While she was in the hospital, I was OK.

However, after she returned home and began showing daily progress, I began to have a lot of trouble concentrating and getting anything done. I just couldn’t focus and I had difficulty writing.

The turning point

My lack of productivity remained until I gave myself a deadline; I committed to presenting weekly1-hour teleseminars featuring new content about planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a nonprofit book.

Each Tuesday at 4:00 PM EST, I promised Published & Profitable friends and members would:

  • Identify and develop a topic I had not previously addressed
  • Prepare a 1-hour presentation
  • Create attendee handouts like a note-taking sheets and worksheets
  • Promote each week’s event

By the end of the first presentation, I was back in the saddle again!

Just like Jay, a deadline made the difference between action and inaction, productivity and lack of productivity.

Where do deadlines get their power?

Why are deadlines so powerful?

I suspect that the power of deadlines to spur action is related to the fear of failure that often accompanies endeavors like writing and public speaking.

We were all “graded” during grammar school, high school, and college…and failure was always embarrassing and painful. A D or an F on a report or report card was public notice that we had failed–and, failure is never any fun.

As a result, we fear writing a lousy book or delivering a boring presentation.

But, when we commit to a deadline, the penalties of missing the deadline are worse and more obvious than than a lukewarm reception to our ideas.

The penalties for missing a deadline are worse than writing a book or presenting a speech that doesn’t live up to our own expectations.

Suppose Jay hadn’t shown up for his Direct Marketing Association speech?

Suppose I was unprepared for one of my Tuesday calls?

A failure to show up is harder on the ego than a lackluster reception to our work…so we choose the lesser of two evils and meet our deadlines.

And, of course, some action is preferable to no action…and we succeed in spite of ourselves.

The big idea?

When you’re not making progress writing your book, give yourself a deadline!

If you want to write an author thought leadership book to build your brand, drive your business and open doors of opportunity, give yourself a deadline…and watch the obstacles disappear! Schedule a speech, or prepare a weekly blog post about one of the topics you’re going to cover in your book. Does this make sense to you? Share your  comments, examples and questions as comments, below.

Are you writing a book? Make sure you choose the right title! See Roger C. Parker’s latest book, #Book Title Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles.

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