Thursday, February 4, 2016


Deadlines can be nerve wracking.  You wonder if you'll be able to meet the demands of a fickle audience or editor, and they can create so much stress that it can be paralyzing.  Whether it's for school, a job, or a family obligation, few things induce panic like knowing you have a timeline to meet and you're just not going to make it.

Under the right circumstances, though, deadlines can also be motivating.  Right now, I'm under a series of them.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm in the middle of a new novel.  At the moment, I have seven beta readers who are helping me out, and they're demanding new chapters.  Since I need their input - and I don't want them to get bored and forget about me - I've set a weekly deadline to get them more stuff.

This is a motivating factor for me since I'm having fun writing this one.  Not only do I want to just write it, but I want my beta readers to be able to get it and get back to me quickly so I can determine what's valid and what's not.  In those late night hours, when I'm tired and want little more than to find the comfort of my bed, it pushes me to write just a little bit more.

John Grogan of the famous Marley & Me worked under a deadline while writing.  His editor would ask for a chapter to be complete at a certain point, and that deadline helped Grogan find a concrete goal to achieve.

Some of us operate better under pressure, while some of us get crushed by it.  I think a little bit of pressure can motivate you to push past the point of exhaustion when you need to because you have others counting on you.  And this is a good pressure, because it's something both sides have agreed to.  It gives me a goal to work towards, and it gives my beta readers something to look forward to each week.  It's not like we're racing the clock to defuse a nuclear bomb, but we've each got expectations of the other, and those expectations compel us to work harder.  Neither of us wants to let the other down.  So look to see if such a thing would help in your own writing.  Of course, it helps if it's a fun project, so make it fun if you can.  After all, the right pressure creates diamonds.

No comments:

Post a Comment