Are you a finisher or a perfectionist?

Nov 6, 2014 | Writing A Book

She’s working hard on her book. Her goal is to have it done “by December.” That could be a problem.

Two kinds of clients

That client is a “finisher.” She will push to get her book done by the deadline she set. The problem is that she may sacrifice quality to do it.

I have other clients who are the opposite. They want to write a great book, no matter how long it takes. The problem is that they may never get their book done because it’s never “good enough.”

Soft deadlines and hard deadlines

If you’re writing a book for a traditional publisher, you will have a negotiated deadline. That’s a real, hard deadline. The publisher is committing resources to publish your book, so your part of the bargain is to complete your book on time. That’s a hard deadline, one set by someone else.

You might have a hard deadline even if you’re publishing your own book. I have clients who set their manuscript completion date based on speeches or other public appearances they’ve already committed to. They need printed books at the back of the room or in the convention bookstore when they take the stage. That’s a hard deadline, too.

But other clients set an arbitrary date as their deadline. That’s a soft deadline. You set it. You can change it.

What kind of writer are you?

Time for a bit of self-reflection. Are you the writer who will sacrifice quality to make a deadline you set? That would make you what I call a “finisher.”

Or will you keep pushing your deadline back while you make your book better? That would make you what I call a “perfectionist.”

Use me (or your friend) as a balancing force

Use your coach or your friend to keep you effective. We can provide a balancing force to your natural tendency.

If you’re a finisher, your friend or coach should remind you that you want to do a great book and you can change your deadline if you choose. If you’re a perfectionist, your friend or coach should remind you that the only book that will help your career is one that gets published.

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