Thursday, February 2, 2023

A Deadline Acrostic for Writers

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

It’s deadline season friends. This is the fourth year in a row that I’ve had a book due on March 1. This is third year in a row that I’ve also had a book releasing on or near March 1. 

This means that my brain is not a very happy place right now. I’m thinking about publicity, marketing, and launching a book. But I’m also frantically trying to finish writing a book. It’s a lot. 

Which is why I want to bring you a fun little acrostic to help you remember the important things the next time you’re on a deadline. 

A Writer's Deadline

D - Dehydration must be avoided at all costs. That means it’s critical to drink. No. Not that kind of drinking. I’m talking about the caffeinated kind of drinking. Coffee, tea, soft drinks. They even have caffeinated water now - have you seen this? (If you’ve tried it, I need details). Now, as you may know, caffeine actually dehydrates you, so … yeah … hmm … well, I’m on a deadline so I’m not changing it. Just drink a lot. Some of it should be water. 

E - Eating is important, too. This is the part where I should say something like, “get a mix of fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats”—so, there. I said it. We all know what’s really happening. A lot of takeout. Probably some pizza delivery. There will be carbs. Oh, yes, there will be carbs. 

A - Ambulate. While it’s true that you won’t get many words written while going for a walk, you need to move your body. A certain writer I know (cough, cough) injured herself WHILE DRYING HER HAIR because she’d spent too much time sitting in her chair and not enough time moving and stretching. This same writer (clears throat loudly) was tortured by a massage therapist last week because she’s been sitting too much and her hips, back, neck, etc. are most displeased. GET THEE FROM THY CHAIR. Go outside. Breathe. Move. Play with your pets. You might even want to watch TV or read a book. Bake something (you’re going to need it!). Draw. Sing. Dance. Crochet. Your body and brain will thank you.

D - Doze. Unless you’re under thirty, you have to get some sleep. I’m forty-eight. All-nighters are out of my reach. There is no amount of caffeine that can stop this. Go to bed. Close your eyes. Sleep. Writing while sleep deprived will not endear you to your editor. 

L - Leave the computer every now and then. Spend time with your people. Grab lunch with a friend. Or you can do what I’m doing when you read this. YOU CAN LEAVE TOWN. Seriously. Get away and write in a different environment. Shake things up. Give yourself time to focus on the words without any distractions. 

I - Include others. Don’t go it alone. Join other writers in writing sprints. Tell your readers what’s going on. Share it on social media or in your newsletter. Ask for prayer. Make sure your people know that you aren’t mad at them, and that you will come out of your deadline cave … eventually. If you leave town, consider leaving with a few friends who will make sure you’re eating, drinking, ambulating, dozing, and occasionally leaving your computer!

N - Note what works and what doesn’t. Lord willing, this won’t be your last deadline. So pay attention. Did you do something that was a disaster? Did you do something that worked beautifully? Make a note so you can either avoid or repeat it the next time. As I mentioned above, there’s this writer I know who has learned the hard way that if she doesn’t take care of her body, she loses writing time because she can’t move her neck or arms. That writer, even though she is super busy, has made time for massages and chiropractor visits during the final eight weeks of her deadline. She’s also stretching at home and getting out of her chair more often. On a more positive note, she’s learned in the past that running away from home for a few days while in the homestretch is a game changer, so she’s doing that this week. Make note of your own things that work or don’t work—food, activities, drinks, rest, etc.—so you don’t forget.

E - Entreat your Creator, the God of the Universe, the Word made flesh, the One for whom and by whom all things exist. He gave you the gift. Your words are an act of worship, and they are for His glory. Don’t attempt to write without bringing your offering before God and asking Him for wisdom, for creativity, and for clarity as you strive to do your very best for Him. 

I’d love to hear what you would include on your deadline acrostic! 

(And, no kidding, prayers appreciated. This book won’t write itself!) 

Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Unknown Threat, the first book in her Defend and Protect series, was a 2021 Christy Award finalist and her previous titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Malicious Intent, the second book in the series, released March 2022.

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM and @LynnHBlackburn on BOOKBUB, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM.


  1. Just a comment on the all-nighters being out of your reach ... they will come back. Once you pass 70, a night of sound sleeping are pretty much over. You'll wake up at 3:00 am unable to go back to sleep. Or you go to sleep early and wale up at 1:00 am. So, yeah, you'll be able to pull those again. Or at least do all-nighters on a split shift.

  2. I love acrostics! Thanks for a creative way to talk about the dreaded deadline.

  3. These are excellent suggestions and tips, and I love your sense of humor thrown in there! Not because of a writing deadline, but I once threw out my back while drying my hair, too. But, it was because I was a knucklehead. I had my leg contorted on the counter because I was tired, ... and I sneezed. That's all it took - sneezing in that awkward position and my back seized and took my breath away! Took several days to be able to walk normally again. Yep -I learned what DIDN'T work there!!! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next book!