Putting yourself on a deadline
Does it help a writer to put oneself on a deadline?
A few posts back I mentioned aiming to finish Draft Four by the end of September. I meant 2010, not 2011. But have I? Nope.
Does setting a deadline help me or hinder? Well, this has been a source of fruitful dialogue (read: arguments) between moi and Hubby. He’s a planner. Micro-planner, macro-planner, he’ll do all and any planning. It’s part of his job, but also a big part of his personality. So he gives me The Talk quite often: what’s your target date to finish your book? And at first I played the Creativity Card to dodge this: I CAN’T POSSIBLY PREDICT that!!! That’s like picking winning Lotto numbers! Venus has to align with Mercury when Saturn’s not retrograde for me to finish a draft, don’t you know that I’m trying to create something here?
Well, in reality talk like that is simply procrastination. And procrastination is procrastination is procrastination just like a rose is a rose is a rose. By pushing me into giving him deadlines, Hubby actually helps me get off my butt and write. If I keep turning up everyday and writing, then guess what, I’m getting closer and for some drafts I’ve met the deadline I gave myself. However, if I stare out the window looking for Venus and Mercury to bump up against each other (or WORSE read my own Tarot cards) then I’m not writing and nothing’s getting closer to anything. Except I’m getting closer to throwing a wee sulk at The next Talk.
Look at NaNoWriMo where you have the month of November (that’s 30 days) to write a 50,000 word novel. I managed that one year. It’s a brilliant way to just let go and write your socks off. (I do recommend you work out a storyline pre November 1st as otherwise by about Remembrance Day you could be writing ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ à la The Shining.)
So I believe it’s a good thing to set impossible goals and go for it, otherwise you are only aiming for the easy and attainable and, for me, I don’t think the path to publication is strewn with ‘easy and attainable’ rose petals. Nope.
Of course, today is the 1st of October and I haven’t finished Draft Four. He’s shrunk from his Darth Vader proportions to a kid in a black cape with a silly looking lightstick…. but he’s still poking his tongue out and calling me mean names.
I’ll have to write a post on Not Beating Yourself Up When You Miss Your Deadline.
Do any of you put yourself on a deadline to motivate yourself to write or find that doesn’t do it for you at all?