Thursday, July 22, 2010


My famous blogging buddy, Bill Kirton, published a post about deadlines on his blog not to long ago, and I've been thinking about them--in one fashion or another--ever since.

When we don't have a deadline (aka, we don't have a book contract or other freelance writing contract that requires a deadline), we angst over the fact that we don't have a "book" or a  "job" or a "project."  Or, more likely, the prospect of a much-desired bank deposit.  But that's another topic...

Some of us write best when we don't have a looming deadline because we're not under pressure.  We get into our schedule, our zone, and nothing interferes with it:  not an agent, a publisher, an editor, a submission, a rejection--nothing.

Others of us diddle around when we don't have deadlines.  The Muse comes (or doesn't), and we don't sweat it. We sleep in instead of setting the alarm at 5am to get an hour or two of writing in before we go to work. We watch TV or settle in with a good book when we get home from work instead of firing up the old laptop.

I suppose the same can be said when we DO have a deadline.  I've heard that some writers have a difficult time dealing with the pressure...knowing they have X number of days until D-Day.  Which translates into X number of pages to be written per day, or X number of words to be written per day, etc.

I have two deadlines at the moment:  one for a freelance project and one for the book I just sold.  So what, you're asking yourself, am I doing writing this blog post when I should be writing some 100,000 words for paying projects that are far more important?

All I can say is that I write.  It's what I do.  And I write lots of stuff, in different genres and formats.  Unfortunately, my responsibilities don't disappear when I'm on deadline.  Neither does the world (and its occupants) spin away on its axis and leave me in peace and quiet when a deadline looms.  In fact, deadlines tend to be the catalyst for the shit hitting the fan in other areas, pardon my crudity.

Even though my deadlines are in September and October, I've already calculated how many words and/or pages a day I need to write between now and then to meet the deadlines.  I've also factored in sickness, emergencies, and an assortment of other stuff--like my husband, my kids, work, and a number of other people and responsibilities.

Good think I have a calculator.  Or is it?

How do YOU deal with deadlines?

1 comment:

  1. My boring answer to your question, Linda, is 'Just like you do'. Mind you, it's easier for me because my kids are all away taking care of their own families and my wife's quite happy for me to disappear into this study at all times of the day and night. I find that, once I'm into whatever piece of work it is that's governed by time constraints, there's even a sort of exhilaration about it. It's not exactly Usain Bolt screaming through the finishing tape like a cheetah, but there's some of that involved. I don't mean competing with others but sort of competing with oneself and with abstract externals. And, unlike so many other pursuits, there's always a tangible outcome.