Monday, April 16, 2012

There's a Reason They're Called Deadlines

Writers aren't the only ones who have deadlines.  Many others do, too.  Teachers have teaching and grading deadlines to meet each quarter, businesses have payroll deadlines to meet, and the IRS has tax deadlines.  Appropriate for the day before taxes are due, isn't it?

Right now I'm facing a deadline to finish writing the full manuscript of a book.  This will be the seventh story set in Desperation, Oklahoma, and will introduce two new characters who are brothers and the new women who win their hearts.  Characters from previous books will, of course, make appearances and be a part of the two stories.  I've really enjoyed writing this series and am looking forward to finishing this story and meeting the May 10 deadline, so I can start on the next one.

I'll be one of the first to admit that it was easier to write when deadlines were nothing to get excited about and no one was waiting for a finished product.  I could write at my own pace, which, by the way, was much faster than it is now!  Sometimes learning how to do it better means doing it a little slower.  That doesn't mean that I didn't try to set a pace and have a finish date of some kind in mind.  Because I entered contests fairly often and always had a complete manuscript of my entry, I knew ahead of time when I wanted to have the manuscript finished.  Part of that had to do with never writing a synopsis until the "book" was finished.  Just one more thing I had to learn to do differently later on.

Deadlines are those goals we make and need motivation to reach.  My motivation at the moment is to not disappoint my editor by having to ask for an extension.  Even though I'm behind schedule, it isn't an impossibility to finish on the time.  It will, however, mean I have to work harder and faster.  It's easy to start out with a positive attitude, but it's just as easy to become more negative as time goes by.  Characters become uncooperative.  Plot points that seemed perfect before now seem weak.  Time to write becomes harder to come by and family/job/life requires more time than writing will allow.

If your goals aren't being as easily met as you'd hoped and planned; if external things have taken up time that you'd planned to spend writing or working on your goal, now isn't the time to give up. Pull up the boot straps of determination, take a deep breath, and throw in a dash of positive energy for good measure.  As we used to say at CataRomance, BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard) and start writing.  There's no guarantee that you'll hit that deadline, but you'll come closer to doing it, if you just keep your eye on the deadline and move in that direction.

Oh! I nearly forgot.  Why do they call them deadlines?  Because we'll kill ourselves to get to the finish line. ;)
Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before. ~ Polybius


Joanie said...

I remember hearing on Jeopardy once that the term deadline applied to the farthest point someone could go before he was shot--don't remember the circumstances, probably war or prison. Some days I think it would just be easier if I was shot. I could relax then :)

Good post!


Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

LOL I agree about the shooting. :)

You just sent me on a hunt for the etymology of the word "deadline." Seems it has to do with the Civil War. After reading about it, I will share it next week, so I thank you! I hadn't thought to find out the history of it, only moan and groan about my own struggle with the dastardly thing.

Now to go read about your Tax Day. What fun! Not.