Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Deadlines Can Be Useful Things

During one of the classes for the first of my two worthless Masters Degrees, the professor, Douglas Gomery, showed us a stack of papers that were just the list of the articles he had published.  When we asked how he was able to be so prolific, his most memorable answer was:

"Deadlines can be useful things."

Last week Hillary Smith (formerly INTERN Spills) wrote an blog posting about the differences between writing her first novel and her second.  The first was done in her own time; the second was written under contract, and came with Editor-imposed deadlines necessary for Publishing House release deadlines.  Writing under contract is a very different beast.

Over the last many weeks my own writing has lacked the motivation necessary to get myself actively involved in the re-re-re-re-re-revisions of The Book.  About two weeks ago I remembered Dr. Gomery's words and how giving myself a deadline -- however artificial -- had once helped me get serious about revisions.

Instead of feeling pressured by my own deadline for finishing revisions and restarting the querying game, I feel inspired by it.  I'm actually looking forward to getting all of the pieces properly aligned and the problem areas eliminated or rewritten.

It really is quite surprising.  And, hopefully, will make writing Book Two under contract, that much easier.

How about you?  Do you work better by setting deadlines for yourself?  Do deadlines motivate you or they bring out the urge to find distractions?

-- Tom