I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
- Douglas Adams
I am a terrible procrastinator, and I'm also never satisfied with anything I do. These two factors in combination have tended to mean that I don't spend nearly enough time writing – and when I do, more often than not it's rewriting something I've already written.
Yet currently, I'm writing 1000 brand new, unedited-as-I-go-along* words every night. Without fail.
That might not sound like much, but given that I have to squeeze them into the hour or so between putting my children to bed and reaching the point where I have to go myself if I want to get any sleep before Tiny wakes me up for her 2am feed … well, it could be worse. After all, if I maintain that rate, in a year I'll have enough words for a trilogy. Or one epic fantasy tome.
The reason for this magical burst of productivity? Deadlines.
Some people are able to set their own deadlines and stick to them. I am not one of those talented people. When I set myself a deadline, I tend to make excuses to let it slide – much as I make excuses for deciding not to eat any chocolate one day and then promptly cracking open the Lindor. I basically have no willpower.
Other people's deadlines, though … I'm a sucker for those. They count. They turn me into pretty much the opposite of Douglas Adams. I'm sure this says something psychologically meaningful about my need to please people and conform to authority. Or maybe I just have to feel stressed in order to feel creative. Whatever the reason, I've always found it far easier to write if I'm under pressure.
Which is good, because I found out recently that Voyager will be releasing my second book in January and my third the following July. Exciting, yes. Very exciting! But it also means a lot of work ahead. Thank goodness for those deadlines :-)
What about you? Do you thrive under deadlines or do you let them whoosh by?
* You might not think this is a good thing, but I'm terrible for rewriting at the sentence level as I go along, instead of just getting the words down and polishing them afterwards. So this is actually a big improvement for me.
1/3/2015 03:55:42 pm
I have to set publication deadlines: put my stuff up as preorder and announce a date on my blog. THEN I can get my rear in gear and actually write. It's the only reason my first book came out in a timely fashion: it made me work to finish it. I still have a full time (soon to be part time!) job, so I can only write during lunch break and for a bit after work, and 1000 words per day is about the cap unless it's my day off.
1/3/2015 11:11:17 pm
Great news about your books. Yes, deadlines set by others work best for me. Still, I do occasionally set them for myself and, as long as they're reasonable, they'll usually be met. Open-ended = sometime/never!
2/3/2015 07:22:08 am
I am exactly the same way - my own deadlines usually get pushed off because I have no willpower, but I hate letting people down, so if someone imposes a deadline on me, I'll meet it. Sometimes I'll even complete the project early.
2/3/2015 10:53:34 am
Deadlines. Love 'em. They're the kick in the pants that definitely gets me moving.
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