I love deadlines. I love having that little voice inside my head, telling me "you must get this done by this date." When I was a graduate student at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I learned the importance of establishing monthly deadlines.
The pressure of having to complete a project within a short time frame can be intimidating. If I have to rush, I feel as if I won't get my best ideas and writing out. Often, I think it won't be good enough. Yes, deadlines are restrictive, however, they keep us moving forward to reach our goal by keeping us focused, helping us plow through tough scenes, and increasing productivity.
Writers are their own boss, and sometimes that can be a setback. Deadlines can be very helpful, especially ones we impose on ourselves. The key is setting reasonable deadlines. I understand that every writer is different, but process thrives on deadlines.
Without deadlines, we wander off from the work that needs to be completed. How many of you have gone on the Internet, only to find that you ended up browsing for hours? What happened to all that writing time? Interruptions keep us from doing our job. Writers have the luxury of flexibilty, however, it's important not to take the hours you have during the day for granted. Having established near-term deadlines serve as a reminder to stay on track.
It's quite tempting to stop writing when we hit a tough scene and tell ourselves we'll come back to the writing later. Having a deadline can, for the good or bad, force you to make decisions about the story structure. If you aren't happy with it, make a note to revisit that section but keep moving forward.
Deadlines help increase our productivity by creating a sense of urgency. An impending deadline can force even the best procrastinators to amp up their output. Setting dates gives me something to aim for. I work better, my creative juices flow, and my productivity increases. When I’ve hit the deadline, I can go back and revise to make sure I'm still producing quality work.
Many writers I know are serious about publication and need deadlines. Meeting deadlines allows us to convey our professionalism. When we establish and meet deadlines, we’ll be taken seriously by others.
How do you feel about deadlines? Have you benefited from establishing your own personal deadlines?