A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Deadline Monster Rears Its Not So Ugly Head

So a thought occurred to me this past weekend as I was scrambling to complete a case study for my Business Law course. (Business Law has nothing to do with my story, but maybe when driven to madness by all the reading and writing that I will eventually have to get done for this class, my pending breakdown might be a featured post! #ohjoy LOL) Anyway, I digress. (Which I tend to do 90% of the time. Ha!)

Okay, so back to my story. I was sitting there going over all of the things that I have to do for the weekend (i.e. write individual paper, go over case studies for said paper, brush up on reading for Bus Law class, prepare to take quiz, etc.) The list could literally go on and on. This, by the way, is one of the many things that make me wish we had 48 hours in one day. #ifonly

I added the chapter I needed to get done for my current WIP to this list, plus the chapter that I needed to return to my CP that I totally promised to have done by this weekend, and voila! We have a recipe for multiple deadlines. #score

I don't know about you, but I'm a total pantser. No, this does not involve pulling someone's pants down to their ankles a la 5-year-old me, but on second thought, that sounds like a fun idea... *claps hands all evil-like* Ahem, anyhoo, where was I? Oh yeah. Deadlines. Pantser. Totally back on subject.

So when I realized how much stuff I had to get done, what did I do? You're probably saying "You did them, of course. In perfectly listed order, starting with the easiest task and finishing off with the hardest." Pfft. Sure. In Never Neverland. C'mon, writers. You know this scenario was doomed to fail from when I started writing this blog post. *insert laugh here* It doesn't help that the weekend started off with a migraine (which could potentially kill any day that involves other things besides laying down in a nice warm bed, consumed by darkness...), but my mind just went blank.

Completely. Utterly. Blank. -_-

I tried to sit down on my laptop (well, not LITERALLY on my laptop) and pulled up all of the different Word documents that I had to finish by the end of the weekend. I kept thinking to myself "Oh this one will take this long..." (and then I checked my Twitter and emails), "That one will take that long..." (and then I checked my Twitter and emails), and so on and so forth... That, suffice to say, was totally and epically fail.

So how did I get into gear? (I swear, this post has SOME kind of potential meaning and/or reason for existing. LOL)

I made myself a concrete deadline.

How was this different from acknowledging the tasks, you ask? Well, for one thing, I gave myself motivational goals to obtain once I had established said deadlines for each individual item. For the school things, the goal was to finish the assignments so that I can focus on other, more fun writerly things. For the writerly things, it was to be able to gain a chapter trade with one of my CPs.

I've asked many writers what their secret is to punching out their novels and not one could give me an answer that is the same as the previous. This is because not everyone functions in the same way and all kinds of crazy things can encourage or discourage the creative process.

My discouragers are Mr. Lazy and Mr. Procrastinator. I may have to introduce them to you in some blog post not so far down the future. My encouragers are Miss Muse and Mr. Deadline.

I find that I work better under pressure. If I have a looming deadline to meet, I will procrastinate *kicks Mr. Procrastinator* because I am lazy *kicks Mr. Lazy* until Miss Muse decides to cooperate and works with Mr. Deadline to get the job done. So I beat Mr. Procrastinator and Mr. Lazy to their bloody death (okay, not really, but you get what I mean) and take a preemptive strike by imposing my own deadlines. Set a time that I MUST finish each task (usually I like to give myself until the end of *insert said date here*), otherwise I'll get the shit beat out of me by my discouragers. And they are skeery when they wanna be.

Also, when I'm working to finish a chapter to submit to CPs, I find the extra adrenaline burst helps my creativity as well. When I KNOW that I need to turn something in, instead of "Oh I'll get it done whenever.", it gives me that extra kick in the pants that I need to get my buttocks in gear. Yes, I said buttocks. So sue me. :P

How do you guys feel about deadlines? Do you set your own and how has that worked for you? :D


  1. While I think the understanding and thoughtful thing to say is 'work at your own pace, don't worry about it!'--that would be a lie LOL. Yes, put your schoolwork first and mind your priorities, but I'm also really anxious to read more XD

    I used to be a pantser. Now I can't do that b/c it always turns out a mess lol. Aside from giving me a clear goal for each scene, outlining also helps me with pace.

    Deadlines work for me as well lol. But I can't set my own b/c I invariably fail. It has to be set for me and I have to have a REAL penalty aside from just 'YOU FAIL, LORI' lol. I usually don't have trouble forcing myself to write though. So long as I've got twitter shut up >_>;;

  2. Your chapters, my dear, would be my writerly motivation for punching out my own chapters. *nods lots and takes F into some dark corner of the world and ravi-* Wait, what was I saying again? -_-

    I tried doing the outline thing. Believe me, I *did*. Maybe it's because I usually skipped over all of that when I used to do writing projects in school. I never learned how to do a proper one and so when I try to do it now, I epically fail. *insert kick in the pants here*

    My penalties for deadlines work out as such: Schoolwork not done = no writing time for Ani.
    No writing time for Ani = no finished chapters.
    No finished chapters = no chapters from said CP who has characters making me googly-eyed.

    See? PENALTIES. *sigh*

    Also? #twitteraddict That is all. *epic sigh*