Short Writing Deadlines Can Boost Your Quality and Confidence. Here’s How

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Image by Wanda Thibodeaux via Canva

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, then you already know that I’m a huge advocate of not forcing writing if you’re just not feeling it. Forced writing shows its seams and almost always loses its luster. But let’s assume that you’re having a great day. The words are flowing faster than your coffee. In this case, it often can be worth it to challenge yourself by setting short writing deadlines.

Why short writing deadlines should be in your repertoire

The point of a short writing deadlines strategy isn’t to add stress. It’s something to use when the writing is working for you. The point is to encourage yourself to trim away the fat. When the deadline is shorter or the pace is a little faster, you have to trust your gut. You can’t get caught in the weeds when looking for sources. You have to make good decisions on the fly about what’s relevant or necessary. You start to grasp that you don’t need everything. It’s training your judgment.

When you do all of these things, something miraculous happens. Your true voice starts talking. Even though you might be conscious of all your technique or audience or any number of things, your self-censorship deflates, because you just don’t have time to worry so much. You have to just do. It’s all about just finishing. Over time, you’ll start to feel more comfortable not waiting for yourself. It’s a major confidence booster.

Short writing deadlines don’t have to be extreme to work

Challenging yourself with short writing deadlines doesn’t have to be outrageous: If you normally take three hours to write a chapter, aim for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Or if you normally do 500 words an hour, aim for 525. But you can test yourself harder, too, such as doing 3 articles instead of 2. You just have to be realistic, because if the challenge is truly impossible, then you’ll only end up missing the mark and feeling defeated.

Not perfect, but definitely better

None of this means that the draft you produce is going to be perfect. You still have to go back and polish. But if you combine this strategy with others, such as using a template, then you can produce solid content fast and reliably and increase the odds that the end result is closer to who you actually are. In my view, the value for that can’t fit on a price tag.