Monday, September 28, 2009

Rushing To The Finish Line

Most of September has been a series of deadlines I’ve had to meet. First, the flu with my daughter. Then the Disney trip. Then coordinating a workshop for our local RWA chapter. Fortunately, I get a lot accomplished when the pressure is on. Unfortunately, I’m not the type to have grace under pressure. I’m more likely to panic, but I still press on and get the work done. The Playfriends just get to hear a lot of whining.

Many times, I feel like this is what is lacking in my writing life – that pressure to perform by a certain deadline. Without it, I can meander aimlessly and no one cares. Except me, when I get to the end of the month and have damn little to show for my time. I try to set up deadlines with accountability partners and the like, but ultimately feel like I should be responsible for my own output.

It isn’t like I’m ignoring my writing to be lazy. I let life’s priorities, those things that are screaming at me to get done, with an actual deadline instead of a fictional one, go first. Maybe I just need to learn to juggle. Sigh… it is a conundrum that will probably never be solved. One I’ll continue to struggle with until I’m finally faced with an editor’s deadline. Heaven help me.

What about y’all? Are self-imposed deadlines easy for you to create and stick to, or do they lose their weight in the face of life’s constant pressures?


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Playground Monitor said...

Self-imposed deadlines can go either way for me. Sometimes I soldier right through life's crap and meet the deadline and other times I cave right in and the deadline goes right out the window. I think a lot depends on what's at stake. A deadline from the magazine editor and the possibility of a contracted story and money carries a lot more weight than me just deciding to write a story by X date and submit it.

Problem Child said...

Oh, I gotta have deadlines. Otherwise, I can put things off indefinitely.

In a way, my "to do" list is a deadline. Nothing like looking at it and wanting to cross stuff off to get me moving. ~eyeballs her to do list~

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I tried to create self-imposed deadlines before I published, and sometimes it worked. But often it was easier to let those real deadlines you mentioned take precedence.

It's hard, but you must do it somehow. Or the work won't get written.

And you ROCK, btw, with that workshop prep.

PM's Mother said...

Don't mention deadlines to me! I lived with DAILY deadlines and also sales goals for 30 years.

The carrot that hangs out there to keep you moving is $$$ and a sense of personal achievement.

PS: I am a procrastinator!

Smarty Pants said...

I do better setting my own deadlines, but really, something like a contest entry deadline or something is what will help me push though the rough patches. If I really need to hurry for a request or something, a competition will light a fire. I hate to lose even more than I would hate to take too long to respond to an editor. Something about my competitive spirit.

Jane said...

I do set deadlines, but I'm pretty lax with them. I usually end up pushing it back.

gigi said...

I set deadlines for myself and try my best to complete projects by said deadline. If I didn't I would never finish anything.
Heck, i even have deadlines for suppertime.

Anonymous said...

Since I am self employed, deadlines=due date on _____ bill. It's kind of hard to discipline yourself if you are late. or dont restock, or simply just put off recording paperwork in the ledger.( I mean honestly, what am I going to do- fire myself?!!?)

Word verification: plarp

Sheryl M.

Angel said...

LOL Sheryl. Also self-employed, I completely understand.

Well, today I got a few things done. All with deadlines. :)