7 Ways To Work To A Deadline

2014 has been a wonderful year for my murder mystery script writing business with the third commissioned play confirmed yesterday. With one play written and delivered, and the second underway, I've been working to a tight schedule to meet customer deadlines.

An added complication is the fact that I work from home and juggle my work hours around my two children. Here's how I've managed to keep to my deadlines.
  1. Before I began each script, I had a brainstorm session. I wrote down all the things that I had to do besides writing the script. For instance, I have a morning school run and and another one in the afternoon. These are non negotiable. They are a must. However, certain tasks (like filing) can be put off for a few weeks. Decide what is on your non negotiable list and what can be postponed.
  2. I made a time plan. I know how long it will take to devise the idea for a script, and then the length of time it will take to write, edit and polish it. I have my customer deadlines to hand. Looking at the results of my brain storm session (above), I also know what else I have to fit in to my day. An extra complication is the fact that it's the half term next week so I will have my children at home all day. My plan has to take all of these things into consideration.
  3. I made a worst case scenario plan. What would I do if either (or both) of my children were off ill? What would I do if I was ill? What would I do if we had a power cut? These are mainly time related concerns so I then altered my time plan to give myself a little toe wiggling room should the need arise.
  4. As part of the original conversation with my customer, I confirmed and reconfirmed the details of the commission - cast, staging, theme, deadline, contact details, payment terms. Having these details agreed and definite, I could safely get on with writing the script.
  5. Before I begin to write, I ensure I have everything I need to hand - notes, coffee, glasses - so there is no reason to interrupt my writing to go and find something.
  6. To keep to my time plan, I do my best to cut out distractions. I don't answer the phone unless I can see that it's the school or my husband and I have only the script open on my computer. I can concentrate solely on my writing.
  7. Finally, I give myself permission to say 'no'. No, I  can't take the morning out for a coffee with a friend (I'll save that as a treat for when the project is over). No, I can't spend a couple of hours on the phone to another friend during the day (but in the evening, I'm free to chat). Most importantly, no, I can't take on more work than I can feasibly fit into a working day/week/month/year. Saying 'no' isn't an act of rejection in this instance. It's an honest statement that saves me and everyone else from bad temper, misunderstanding and resentment. It's a healthy laying down of boundaries.
How do you keep to your deadlines?


  1. Congrats on a terrific start to the year! I'm so happy your script writing is going so well. That's awesome!

    1. Thanks, Kelly. Busy, busy, busy. Had an email today requesting another custom written play.

  2. Great list Fi, for me also, writing down the plan, whether its a daily plan or a project plan always helps me. I have to remember to factor in 'thinking time' ... which of course can alos be mutlitasking with a walk or legs up the wall for a while (I also practice yoga), and those times waiting for a iflm to begin or concert set can be very useful!

    1. Thank you. Good to see I'm not the only one with the constantly imagining mind.

  3. Oh, how I wish I could be so organised.
    Well done on the commissions :-)


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