Posted by: nancyisanders | May 4, 2011

Deadline Digest: Flipflop

Last night as I was prepping for working on my deadlines today, I realized I wasn’t moving fast enough on my second book deadline. I needed to really pump up the paperwork.

So I flipflopped my schedule.

Instead of working on Book Deadline #2 in the afternoon, I scheduled it on my calendar to attend to it first thing in the morning.

So when I popped out of bed at 6:30 this morning, I headed straight to my computer and pulled out Book Deadline #2: a 4th grade curriculum I’m writing to teach homeschoolers how to write.

I spent the morning designing worksheets with writing prompts, a brainstorming worksheet, and a journal page on my computer publishing program.

I wrote step-by-step directions for parents to follow to implement these worksheets into their homeschooling lesson.

I wrote instructions for a fun craft and exciting activities to go along with the lesson so kids can have fun learning.

At one point, I needed a file from my editor to complete the lesson, so I e-mailed her and asked for it. She promptly shot off an e-mail and sent it my way.

When I finished the lesson, I printed it out and headed to a comfy spot on our couch recliner to do a final edit.

And finally, whew! Just in time for lunch, I finished the lesson and zipped the word doc off to my editor. I also sent a separate e-mail with the 6 art pdf files I’d created for the various worksheets.

So why did I flipflop my schedule and move this deadline up to my morning? It’s because I know myself. I’m a morning person. I do my best creative writing in the morning.

And last night I realized it has been taking me too long to finish up this lesson. I’d been working on it in the afternoons when I’m slower and not as creative or fresh.

So I moved it to my morning schedule and plan to just do less creative work in the afternoon on my first book deadline like checking facts and searching for images.

I’m on a tight schedule with my curriculum deadline. The editor needs it in her hands so she can edit it and polish it and add in all the tweaks she needs to add. Then she sends it to the art designer if we need something designed. And then next Monday it’s scheduled to be sent out to 50 test families who are testing each lesson with their homeschooling kids to see what works and what doesn’t. So I had to wrap it up right away.

How about you? Are you a morning person? Or afternoon? Or night? When do you do your most productive and creative writing?


  1. Definitely night person!

  2. I am definitely a morning person too. I joined a swim team a few months ago and go to practice at 5:00am! My best writing time is when I’ve gotten home and gotten my coffee and breakfast.

    I have a question for you, or maybe two. You mentioned using your computer publishing program to design a journal page for your book. Do you design alot of your own graphics for things like this? And do editors expect a writer of a curriculum, workbook, or even a craft book to produce their own graphics, or do they generally just look for the words and exercises?

    Thank you and love your blog (and your ‘Yes! You Can’ book)! Kathy

    • Oh, Kathy, a swim team sounds AWESOME! You must feel so charged and ready to go after that.

      Here are some answers to your questions:
      Yes, many of my publishers require me to submit graphics for curriculum work books, and craft books.

      But no, those aren’t used in the final book. These are all just for the illustrator or design team to get it right. So I can be as terrible of an artist that I am…even just drawing lollipop stick figures by hand for graphics I draw out by hand. For instance, today I submitted 5 computer drawn pages and 1 hand-drawn page to my editor.

      I find however, I’m using my publishing program more and more, especially if something is text heavy. I can just copy and paste the text from my manuscript into the art. plus add some cute clipart instead of my horrible stick figures, and there we go! The illustrator gets the concept so she can make the art look great.

  3. I’ve been enjoying reading your posts on meeting the deadlines. Here’s a quote that describes your work ethics:

    “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
    — Stephen King (On Writing).

    • Great quote, Anne! Thanks for sharing. -Nancy

  4. Hi Nancy!
    What publishing program do you use for your graphics?

    • Hi Tina, I just use Printshop for Mac. Nothing fancy. When I bought my Mac several years ago I bought the program at the same time for about $100 I think because I knew I have to provide these types of illustrations for the artist to refer to in many of my book projects. It just lets me put clip art images and text blocks on a page to create the worksheet I need to show the illustrator. Then I can save it as a pdf file which is compatible with anyone’s computer.

      That’s also the program I use to create my handouts for my writer’s workshops and lectures at conferences. So it comes in handy in a lot of ways. You can see a sampling of what I mean on my AUTHOR’S EVENTS tab here on my blog. -Nancy

  5. Hi Nancy. I’m enjoying this peak into your process. I’m definitely an afternoon person. I can do busy work in the morning, but my creative juices flow best from about 2 in the afternoon until about 8 at night. Fortunately, I have a husband who has late hours. So this works. At least for now.

    • Thanks for sharing, Doraine! It’s interesting…you hear of lots of morning people or night people, but not too many afternoon people. How fun that you KNOW when you work your best…and it’s working! -Nancy

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