Saturday, March 12, 2011


There's a tongue-in-cheek saying being bandied about work lately that has to do with all the projects that are thrown at us each week-slash-day.   

Deadlines: I love the sound they make as they go rushing past my head.

Oddly enough, I actually love deadlines.  I know it's weird but I do.  It's kind of like the old TV game show, "Beat the Clock" (yeah, I know, I'm really showing my age on that one) where contestants rush around trying to finish a challenge in an allotted time span.  Knowing the clock is ticking away makes them work faster and maybe more creatively.

I view deadlines as mini-challenges.  And I plain out and out LOVE challenges. I always have.  Whether it is a term paper in school, a financial project at work, the one-minute pressure of my favorite computer game or cleaning the house before company arrives, knowing the clock is ticking away gives me a specific goal to work toward.  It makes me work faster, smarter, and more focused.  

It's one of the things I love about my writers' group.  Each month, you set a goal or goal that you intend to finish by the next month's meeting.  It's a self-imposed deadline the members of our group set for themselves.  Some are big goals (finishing a certain number of words or sending a book off to a publisher); others are small goals.  But each goal, large or small is writing-related and gets us closer to where we want to be.  At the next meeting, we announce whether or not we've hit these goals, and it is inspiring to hear the high percentage of goals that are accomplished.

The winter writing challenge I mentioned last month is another challenge. It was a HUGE deadline looming ahead of me.  Thirty-two thousand words in 28 days?!  Yikes!  That's like scaling Mt. Everest after the puny amount of words I've been turning out each month.  But it was a goal and a challenge to this deadline-loving gal.  So was the fact that I'd have to pay a buck for each thousand words that I fell short.  So, last month, I started writing with gusto, got side-lined temporarily then picked up the pace again.

I wrote like crazy all week, coming home from work and spending the evening in front of the computer.  I wrote more that half the total needed in since Saturday.  Last night, when I headed to bed, I'd finished 32,433 words!  Sure, they aren't beautiful, polished prose -- that will come later in revisions -- but they have built the framework and action of my story.  The euphoria almost kept me from sleeping!

So I love deadline.  I work well on pressure.  I love the adrenalin-charged pace as a deadline looms closer.  It fuels me with energy and strengthens me to ignore distractions and focus on that single task. At least that's what I tell myself.

Maybe I'm just a procrastinator.  What do you think?

~ Stephanie