Lately, I’ve rediscovered something I knew about myself but forgot. I really like deadlines.
Not that I like having them looming over me, and the feeling of inexplicable terror when I first receive them is something to behold. I like them because they give me a frame to work around.
If I have a deadline, or seven depending on university, I know I have to portion time so that I can do things well. I could slap them together at the last minute, but that would be doing myself a major disservice. And I have learned that the ‘but I could have done it better’ is a perfectionist’s favorite self-judging stick. I may not be a perfectionist all the time, that would be exhausting, but sometimes I try it out just for fun. Which it’s not.
I say this all because I have found again the strangely satisfying moment after the deadline, when there is relief and a sense of achievement, and the promise that it can be done again.
Shame I can’t set my own deadlines.
Luckily, there are methods around that little snag, and I read it in Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem!. If this book is unfamiliar, and you wan to write ridiculous amounts for no other reason than because it sounds awesome, get this book.
The people around you may not necessarily seem to care if you’re writing, but if you involve them and give them the chance to ask about your progress in such a way you have to be honest, the most unenthusiastic person can become inspiring. Honestly, sometimes I write just so that when people I barely see ask what I’m doing, I won’t be working on the same thing.
And that’s how I get my deadlines.
I make myself accountable to people I know, and trust to ask the uncomfortable question right when I least want to answer it. They don’t have to actively do anything more than a cursory question and a polite pause while I answer, but it helps.
Rewards for deadlines are also really help, but that’s a whole other post.
The real upside of deadlines this week. Baby bunnies are so cute!