I found in February that I am completely worthless as a writer without a deadline. I had a short story to compose in collaboration with a Doctor Who group, the project is for charity and very exciting. I had never done a collaboration project before, so I was in.
Originally I thought the deadline was BY March, and thought – okay, one month for a short story. I can do this. It’s about the Doctor, how could anything go wrong? Well half way into the month I was panicking. I thought WHY does February have to be the SHORTEST month of the year? Because, I had some couple of other agreements I committed to writing-wise as well for the Steampunk event. Which, yikes, I still haven’t finished.
And then I find out that I had it completely wrong. The deadline for the Doctor Who story was at the END of the month, not at the start. This lesson, while at first I was annoyed to discover I had misread the details, taught me one very important thing:
LOVE THE DEADLINE
Yes, if I spent more time loving the deadline, as it gave my wild muse some kind of structure, instead of fearing it – I would have spent less time worrying about it, and more time writing. Or at the very least more time THINKING about the story. If I learned earlier to love the deadline, it wouldn’t have annoyed me so much that I crammed 10,000 words in three weeks was no reason to panic.
5 tips I learned about loving the deadline:
1. Don’t panic. Douglas Adams’ best advice to me applies to most things in life. I learned panic makes people do stupid things. So, don’t.
2. Remember why it’s a good thing. Remembering why we have deadlines in the first place: to keep things on track, is a calming thought.
3. GIVE yourself PERMISSION to procrastinate. If you’re like me, as a writer, I cannot stay focused 100%. Allow yourself some TV or movie time, break time, hanging out with family and friends. Just know you also have that story to finish when you come back from your break.
4. SLEEP – or try to. I haven’t mastered this one yet. But I hear it’s good for most people.
5. Celebrate – you did it! When you make your deadline, pat yourself on the back. Grab a special brew of coffee or treat yourself to a chocolate. You earned it!
Now, get started on editing 😛
HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH DEADLINES?
Got any tips I missed? Share in the comments below 🙂
Hope everyone enjoys the rest of February! Happy writing!