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How deadlines help sew bridesmaid dresses and publish books

The night before my friend Michelle’s wedding, May 15th, 1981, I was going to sew on the sleeves and hem my bridesmaid dress. However, I forgot that I had to attend the bridal dinner the night before the wedding, and then I got home really late. I could just wake up early and sew on the sleeves the day of the wedding. there was enough time.


I arrived at the bride’s home just as the limo arrived to take her and the bridesmaids to the church. I didn’t get to help the bride get dressed, but I made the deadline of not missing the wedding ceremony. The dress I sewed wasn’t perfect, there were a few loose threads I didn’t have time to snip, but I finished the dress.

If there was no deadline, if they had not picked a date for their ceremony, I would have never finished sewing the dress. It would still be hanging in my closet, unhemmed, with the two sleeves laying on the floor waiting to be attached.

Book deadlines help publish books

If there wasn’t a deadline for How To Be a Cat, the book would still be waiting to be illustrated and formatted. The deadline was self-imposed, but it gave me a timeline and a framework to finish the book.


The book was written by my cat, Pooh Hodges, three years ago. If I didn’t make a deadline at the start of this year to publish the book on October 4th, the book would not have been made.

The book would have remained in my “dreams” on a list of projects I want to do. The October 4th deadline gave me a structure to plan from.

The book was edited, then it was illustrated, formatted, designed, sent to the printing company, Create Space, the proofs were ordered. Then Dr. Suess, was spelled the right way, Dr. Seuss.  The word was, was changed to were, and honarary was changed to honorary. The final approval of the edited changes came back from the printing company twelve hours before the deadline to publish the book on Amazon.

Deadlines give you a goal to aim for.

Wedding dates and publish dates.

Do you have a project you have been working on and haven’t finished yet?

Do you delay finishing it because you want to make it perfect?


Make a decision, do the best you can today, finish and ship. After you finish your project, learn from it, and apply what you have learned to the next bridesmaid’s dress you sew, or book you write.


What are you working on right now that you want to finish? Do you have a deadline?

I love to hear from you. Click here to comment, or scroll to the bottom of the post if you are on the blog.


p.s. How To Be a Cat is available on Amazon now! This week the Kindle version is only 99 cents.  Click on the book to take you to Amazon.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • I’ve given myself a deadline of October 2017 to finish my first novel. I haven’t picked a date yet, but the first is as good as any.

  • Deadlines are stressful but darned effective. I write a weekly Saturday column for Fine Art Views. I have to submit my articles one week in advance, and it’s amazing how those deadlines keep me on track!

  • I love how you made the connection between dresses and books! Such truth.

    I’m so glad you finished Pooh’s book. I too, was “working” (more like avoiding the work) on my book for a year. When I bought the ticket (in August) to the Tribe Writers Conference I became motivated to just ship it. I can read, re-read, proof it and wait for it to be 100% perfect, but I decided I did enough of that since August 2015, so perfect or not, my book is finally printed!

    Next deadline – keep having a blog post ready to go each week by Thursday night for Friday morning publishing. Feels good to be back at it. Now I need the creative ideas to flow again. Practice, practice.

    • Hi Kathy Fannon,
      Did you ever have to sew a bridesmaid dress?
      I love the book you wrote. Great job getting it finished.
      Today is Thursday. I am excited to read your blog post tomorrow morning. Now I have something to look forward to.

  • EmFairley

    Great post, as always, Pamela. Congratulations on the publication of How to be a Cat! I’ve set several deadlines my the current project and I’m very happy to say that I’ve met them all. The ebook is now pre-orderable, and once I’ve read yours, I’ll start the final read of the 2nd printed proof, giving enough time for final fixes ahead of full launch on November 28. Then, I’ll outline the next book, and prep for NaNoWriMo, during which I’ll write the first draft

    • Hi Em,
      Thank you for your kind encouraging words. And, congratulations on setting deadlines and meeting them! I am happy for you. How fun you can pre-order your book. Did you decide to be a cat after you read Pooh’s book?
      What a good idea to do an outline before you do NaNoWriMo. Hope all is well with you.

      • EmFairley

        Thanks Pamela. I’ve not yet started reading Pooh’s book, but will tonight, I promise. Shortly after commenting on this post, the ideas for my next book started literally screaming at me, so I had to release them onto a notebook page. It’s only a very rough set of bullet points right now, but at least I’ll get some peace to focus on other things until I’m ready to give more time to them. Up until that point, I strangely had a clearer idea of book 3 than 2, so I’m happy that the temperamental toddler that is book 2 finally showed up. Grin.