By Karin Beery

You dazzle a potential client, win his trust, then sign that editing contract. You know what to do; you know how to do it. Now you just have to do the work on time.

The problem? You’re fifteen minutes late to everything. You hit snooze four times every morning. How are you going to meet your deadline (and not miss it)? Try this:

  1. Set your own deadline. Don’t work by your client’s deadline; set your own, and set it at least 20 percent earlier than your client wants. Do you have six weeks to edit? Give yourself five. Is your turnaround one week? Do it in five days.
  2. Write down your deadline. Everywhere. Put it in your planner, write it on your calendar, and leave yourself sticky notes. Make sure that you see it every day. It’s not optional or negotiable—it’s in writing, it’s in your face. Memorize it.
  3. Start working immediately. Don’t wait to start editing. As soon as you have the document, get to work.
  4. Work until it’s done. Just because you have five weeks (not six!) to finish your work doesn’t mean you should take that much time. You started your work right away—finish it right away!
  5. Communicate with your client. Let your client know how the work is going. Send an email when you finish the first quarter of the book, then again when you’re halfway through. This adds a level of accountability so you’re not tempted to skip #3 and #4.
  6. Cut yourself off. Does Facebook distract you? Stay away from it until you finish your work. Do you get sucked in to Fixer Upper marathons when you turn on the TV? Take the batteries out of your remote. Eliminate the things that steal your concentration.
  7. Reward yourself. Allow yourself something as a reward to inspire you to finish the work faster. No mani/pedis until it’s done. No pizza until you’ve returned the manuscript. You can’t go see that movie you’ve been waiting for until you reach the end.

Not all of these will work for you, but experiment with them until you find the motivator that works. When you find it, own it! Make it a regular part of your life and apply it to every deadline.

Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,