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Deadline TangoWhen I signed a contract for my next book, Doable: How to Accomplish Just About Anything, several months ago with a manuscript delivery deadline of October 1, I thought, no problem. Sure, I had some other major work things going on at the time, but my plan was to dedicate the entire summer to cranking out the book. I’d have a rough draft by the end of August and then have the month of September to tighten, clean up, and finesse. Perfect.

What I didn’t anticipate was that in early June we would get word that our family was relocating to The Netherlands in August. And as excited as I was about the news, I also started experiencing a low-level panic as I realized my long, leisurely writing days of summer were about to go up in smoke.

Once my husband and I got down to some serious planning, the massive To Do list was born. There are contractors to hire, getting the house on the market, finding long-term storage, packing, move logistics, and more.

Meanwhile, my lovely little book? The one that’s all about how any goal or To Do can be doable? Well, let’s just say it’s providing me with a perfect opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.

Here’s my new and improved plan: Complete first draft of manuscript by July 31st so while I’m in the middle of the move I can be editing and tweaking instead of writing. I can lug that draft with me everywhere I go and edit as I can.

My strategy for the next 28 days? Write in short, productive bursts — 15-30 minutes each — multiple times throughout each day and chip away at the book, chapter by chapter. I find that this kind of writing, especially when under deadline, keeps the creative well open. If I reach a point during one of these bursts where I feel stuck or the words aren’t coming, I consider that burst over and close the laptop. Usually by the time I come back to it hours later, I’ll be ready to dive back in from a fresh place.

The process isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done. (At least that’s my plan!)

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If you want to know more about my personal creative and writing process, I just recorded an interview with the fabulous Gia Duke where I share what my days look like when I’m on deadline and juggling a very busy life. Listen to the interview here, and be sure to check out Gia’s Super Love Summer Mashup for more interviews and awesome content from a pretty kick-ass crew of people.