I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
- Douglas Adams
I am a terrible procrastinator, and I'm also never satisfied with anything I do. These two factors in combination have tended to mean that I don't spend nearly enough time writing – and when I do, more often than not it's rewriting something I've already written.
Yet currently, I'm writing 1000 brand new, unedited-as-I-go-along* words every night. Without fail.
That might not sound like much, but given that I have to squeeze them into the hour or so between putting my children to bed and reaching the point where I have to go myself if I want to get any sleep before Tiny wakes me up for her 2am feed … well, it could be worse. After all, if I maintain that rate, in a year I'll have enough words for a trilogy. Or one epic fantasy tome.
The reason for this magical burst of productivity? Deadlines.
Some people are able to set their own deadlines and stick to them. I am not one of those talented people. When I set myself a deadline, I tend to make excuses to let it slide – much as I make excuses for deciding not to eat any chocolate one day and then promptly cracking open the Lindor. I basically have no willpower.
Other people's deadlines, though … I'm a sucker for those. They count. They turn me into pretty much the opposite of Douglas Adams. I'm sure this says something psychologically meaningful about my need to please people and conform to authority. Or maybe I just have to feel stressed in order to feel creative. Whatever the reason, I've always found it far easier to write if I'm under pressure.
Which is good, because I found out recently that Voyager will be releasing my second book in January and my third the following July. Exciting, yes. Very exciting! But it also means a lot of work ahead. Thank goodness for those deadlines :-)
What about you? Do you thrive under deadlines or do you let them whoosh by?
* You might not think this is a good thing, but I'm terrible for rewriting at the sentence level as I go along, instead of just getting the words down and polishing them afterwards. So this is actually a big improvement for me.