A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill
I’m a little late today because I’ve been working my fingers off on a play this week. I have a submission deadline on Sunday that I want to meet. That deadline is totally arbitrary, one of my own making. Nothing will happen if I don’t meet it, life will continue on just as before. Except that’s not totally true. I made this deadline because then I can move on to next month’s newsletter. And I have a six hour professional development workshop to outline. And a new play workshop coming up. And so on and so on, the list never really ends for me.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
So yes, I could not finish by my deadline. But the whole point of being a writer is to finish projects. Get them to a designated point to be able to move on to something else. People often ask me why I can work so well on my own at home and the reason is deadlines. I make them and I meet them. Occasionally I get overwhelmed and have to make choices, and that’s ok too. Deadlines work better for me than setting a schedule – write every day for x amount of time. If I don’t write for x amount of time, I feel bad. Sometimes I write for eight hours, sometimes I can only manage five minutes.
A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all. ~Rita Mae Brown
It helps too to set deadlines when you feel you’re writing in a vacuum. When you’re just starting out, when you’re not writing for a specific project. Deadlines provide a purpose. When I work on plays that aren’t destined for Theatrefolk, I always pick a competition I want to enter. Competitions always have hard deadlines and it’s a goal to write toward.
Ok, I’m going to get back to my writing. Do deadlines work for you? Do you prefer writing to a schedule? What do you use to get the work done?