Tuesday, 17 February 2009


What is needed is deadlines. Are deadlines. Is a deadline.

There's some business/corporate-speak motto that goes something like: a plan without a deadline is just a dream.

Well, I like dreams. I had one the other night in which I was chasing baddies and I had magic powers: Harry Potter meets 24. If corporate-speakers had dreams like that they would never give anything a deadline and just close their eyes and enjoy the ride. That's what us creativey types had been smiling about for years but in some ways these Blue Sky Thinkers and Low-Hanging fruiters (maybe I should start another blog giving definitions to these phrases? Oh, it's probably been done a thousand times) have got a point. Without deadlines it is possible to drift like a toy boat on the pond of life. (See above in case you have problems visualising this. I was quite pleased to find it and may refer to it several times more during this post.)

Sometimes it is easy to lose all perspective and feel like a tiny ship on a great sea (see above).

Sometimes you get caught up in your own little world and you don't realise your sense of scale is all skewed (see above).

Oh, stop it now.
But writing does have a tendancy to drift if you don't set yourself deadlines and goals. Without publishers to nag you how do you stay professional and keep writing your 1000 words a day? How do you keep from being demoralised?
I tend to find that when I am keeping up with my writing goals the wordcount becomes an achievement in itself and I am motivated to keep going. But when I start to drift and become sidetracked (with work, social life, cleaning, icanhazcheezeburger.com, all the other things you can do when you don't have someone cracking the whip) then it becomes a law of diminishing returns: the less I do, the less I do.

So the plan is to impose deadlines on myself. For a week, a month, the finished book. I need to reward myself for hitting them but not beat myself up too much if I don't. I also need to remember that deadlines and me don't live happily; I did my entire undergrad dissertation in the last two weeks and my MA dissertation in, well, less time then it takes to write a dissertation. Staying up for three nights in a row is not the answer and usually produces utter twaddle.

So we still have another 65,000 words to go. That's 13 weeks. Call it four months for a first draft. That's mid June.
OK, well you guys can hold me to that. Although finding me is another matter...

But, seriously, check out icanhascheezeburger.com


LL said...

Good writing is not produced by deadlines. The genius of writing and communicating - reaching out - delivering a vision can't be counted by minutes or hours devoted to a tome. I understand the demands of the marketplace. I also understand the dynamics of writing and they don't seem to jibe.

Will said...

I too is fan of lolcats, teh lolcats is awesome.