Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Deadline = No Good

Actually, I should qualify that headline: No Imminent Deadline = No Good. At least lately, it seems like I’m the kind of writer that needs an approaching deadline to really finish something. I don’t know why that is, and I don’t always like it, but that’s just how it’s worked out.

Even now, right now, I have an article that needs to be completed so the subject can see a proof, but I’m having a hard time buckling down to finish it. I have a self-imposed deadline, but those are just BS, and my brain does not respect them.

NaNoWriMo was great, because if I wanted to be a “winner” (which I am thank you very much), I had to get the minimum word count in every day. I had to keep on task. Granted, there may have been times that I lagged a little, there were times I wanted to just stop, there were times that I wanted to switch to another project, but the deadline and the goal helped me pull through. Although I really don’t care for the story, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to go back to it.

Case in point, I started a short story the other day, one that I’m excited about and I think could be really funny, but now after about the third day of working on it — a few hundred words a day — my output is starting to wan. I want to work on it during the day, but the pesky day job gets in the way. I wanted to do some work on it at night, but the pesky night job and/or responsibilities at home get in the way.

Another example is the Writers’ Digest Short Story Competition. I entered, but it took a long-ass time for me to finish the story. I knew about the competition months ago. I even started the story months ago, but it wasn’t until I had a couple weeks to deadline that I really buckled down to write it all. And then I was pressing the deadline to reread and get my changes made.

I know it’s a discipline thing, and right now I just don’t seem to have any. This bothers me immensely, but in my mind I’m automatically coming up with excuses as to why I’m not getting work done. I’ve thought about getting up an hour or half hour earlier every day and getting some writing done then, but usually I feel like I’m running on little enough sleep as it is. I don’t know. What do you suggest?

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