Setting Yourself a Writing Deadline

Welcome to the Distress Signals Blogging Bonanza! What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, you can either go and read this post or read the next sentence. In a nutshell: Distress Signals is out in paperback in the UK and Ireland on January 5 and hits the U.S.A. on February 2, and every day in between I’m going to blog as per the schedule at the bottom of this post.

Before we get started, what did you think of yesterday’s video blog? I’m in two minds. On one hand, I think with a bit more effort and pre-planning, they could turn into something worth doing once or two a month in the long-term. But on the other hand, it irks me when things are a little bit crap (i.e. I just used my webcam, the room was kind of dark, etc. etc) and I really have my doubts that people who like to read blog posts are also people who like to watch videos. Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. I’m definitely going to do it for the rest of this 28-day craziness, because I said I would, but we’ll have to see how it goes after that. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can do so here. To give you an idea of what went on, this screenshot sums it up (sorta):


Anyway, onto today. Saturdays, as per the schedule, are for pointing you in the direction of something I wrote elsewhere. Today, I’m pointing you to, where for the New Year I wrote about writing deadlines.

I don’t know in how many Januarys I opened a brand new notebook, smoothed down the first page and wrote ‘Goal #1: Get published’ at the top of it.

It was lots of them though. All of them, almost, up until the last one. (I’m writing this on the New Year’s Eve that your liver might still be getting over, the one in 2016.) Last year I didn’t have to write that, because it was already happening. I was going to get published in 2016 – on May 5, specifically. That’s the day Corvus published my thriller Distress Signals in trade paperback in Ireland and the UK. A goal reached and a dream come true. Plus, lots of bonus stuff: the TV rights have been sold, I was shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year in the BGE Irish Book Awards and Blackstone are publishing Distress Signals in the U.S. in less than thirty days’ time.

What was it about 2016? (Or 2015 rather, which was the year I actually signed my book deal. Or 2014, the year I got the amazing agent who got me that deal.) Did I write ‘Get published’ in a special pen? Select a notebook that had secret special powers? Accidentally inhale some pixie dust that I’d unknowingly brought into my house via some contaminated but adorable Disney World merchandise?


Remember: there’s a super sexy hardcover edition of Distress Signals (the American one, out February 2) up for grabs, signed to you from me. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or any post published here between January 5 and February 2. One entry per post, so comment on more than one and increase your chances. Open globally. Good luck!


A reminder in case you’ve forgotten since the last paragraph: Distress Signals is out in paperback in Ireland and the UK now! If you’ve read it already, hunt down someone you know who likes thrillers and tell them that my rent is very, very high. (Or that you liked it, if you did. You know, whatever works.) If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you’re not quite done with your procrastination yet today, you can find out more about Distress Signals here.

13 thoughts on “Setting Yourself a Writing Deadline

  1. katielookingforward says:

    I don’t think blog readers and vlog watchers are the same people yet….but I do know that blog readers are curious people, so if they can hear their favorite bloggers voices, they might get sucked into a vlog. I think the quicky videos on instagram stories are more popular as a video option for bloggers, no editing required!

  2. Susan Lee Kerr says:

    Fun to see you on video. The room was not too dark. I like the art behind you. Would like you to answer more questions in your oh so helpful way. Like how can one spend time tracking down likely agents and at the same time write the book? Am now revising discovery draft which I loved writing — at the same time finding it scary and hard to write.

  3. nerdywordybirdy says:

    I think vlogs are a natural next step! They definitely add interest if used occasionally. I’m not one who will be moving to watching vlogs exclusively, though — words are still so much more convenient for me. I actually have a post going up about this very subject on Monday (in which I mentioned you as an example, in fact). Seems like so many bloggers end up incorporating video or switching completely at some point.

  4. Denise says:

    i loved your vlog. only thing I was waiting for far to long was you putting your glasses back in place. sorry but that really distracted me. loved your shirt and your hair. keeping vlogging please! and keep sipping coffee

  5. avrilsilk says:

    Great ideas about setting deadlines – just want to say that deadlines set by other people, brandishing chequebooks, tend to have a certain compelling quality to them but that’s me being a self-saboteur… (an honest self-saboteur, mind, but I know I have to get past it!)

  6. Chris says:

    I really liked the vlog! I don’t follow many vlogs (I find most of them too frenetic), but I enjoy it when the bloggers I follow do the occasional video. I feel like I get to know them better, and the little glitches are part of the charm.

  7. Sarah Potter Writes says:

    I enjoyed your vlog, including the glasses keeping on slipping (my husband’s do that all of the time!) and you rushing off-screen to answer the doorbell. It all added the human touch and I felt that it was my first insight into you as a person. Of course, you know I loved your book. That little different textured “shortlisted” bit on the top right-hand corner of the cover is so well-deserved. My verdict: keep vlogging. Perhaps I should give it a try, too. You’ve encouraged me, now that I know that obvious cuts and glitches add rather than detract from the charm of a recording 😉

    • Joel D Canfield says:

      Oh, yes, the casual spontaneous nature of the video was a big part of its charm. I abhor highly polished mini-movies. Nobody likes sloppy, but everyone loves a casual sit-down with a friend.

      Deadlines are a double-edged sword: you can cut yourself, or someone else can cut you. There are better ways.

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