Last week I made an oblique comment about wishing I had deadlines. Which I actually really did mean, for two reasons.

The first, as implied by the previous post, is that it means someone already wants that piece of writing. Most of the writing I’m doing now is on spec, which means I have no idea at all if the work I’m putting into it will actually result in a sale. Getting rid of as much of that uncertainty as I can is a major goal.

Second, deadlines are motivating. Right now, writing tends to be something that I have to fit around the rest of my life. There are kids to keep alive, dinners to subdue, and big messy houses to poke at warily with cleaning supplies. All of these things demand constant attention, and then there’s all the incidentals that keep cropping up. Like my wife, seeming to think we should spend time together occasionally.

The writing has to compete with all that, and deadlines help. They give me a concrete reference that says work on this NOW. So I tend to make them up, even when they don’t really exist. For example, I decided that the outline I was working on for my current project had to be done before the end of this week. Wednesday at best (which I’ve already shot past), Friday absolutely. Well, it’s Thursday afternoon and I think I’m just about done. But only because I took a pass on three other things that were demanding my attention this morning.

Because I had a deadline.

Which reminds me, time to do another proofreading pass. I swear, those commas are out for blood.


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