Deadlines and the Lack There of

March 11, 2011

When you’re writing for magazines, deadlines are your friend. They keep you on track because you know you can’t procrastinate past a certain date.  With fiction, there are no deadlines, not at first, anyway.  There’s no editor waiting for this manuscript so I can take as long as I want to write this book. I can do it in three months or three years. That’s great, right? No stress!
Not true.
No deadline is more stressful than having one. No deadline means that I have to find a way to put the fiction work in front of the work that does have a deadline (LOL). No deadline means that six months from now, when I’ve only written three chapters, I can toss the story out the window in frustration.

The obvious answer is to self-impose deadlines, but that works just as well as my deadline to drop fifty pounds by last Christmas. A good option is to enter a partial in a contest that requires a full if you win. The downside there is if you win and you can’t finish on time, you’ve burned a bridge and that might not be worth the gamble.

For people who don’t work as writers by day, writing a novel at night is an outlet. It’s fun and that alone is motivation to sit down in front of the computer for an hour before bed. But for those of us who sit in front of the computer turning out articles all day long, it’s a completely different story. That, right there, is the reason we started this blog. It is different for people who work as non-fiction writers for a living and learning to work without a hard deadline is one of those differences that can be hard to overcome.

Do you have any suggestions for self-imposed deadlines? I’d love to hear them.

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One Response to “Deadlines and the Lack There of”

  1. taristhread Says:

    I’d love to hear some answers for this as well!! When I have a deadline, I keep writing and rewriting right up until I have no choice but to send…..without that deadline…..

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