I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
I love deadlines too. Knowing what I must do, and by when, focuses and calms me. Meeting the deadline becomes a point of honour.
I become more productive. I tell my kids, friends and family how many words I have to write – each day, each week, each month. I commit. Publicly.
A deadline keeps me honest. Without one, writing can too easily be squeezed out by work and personal commitments. A big intimidating deadline muscles writing to the head of the queue and keeps competing pressures at bay for long enough to get the work out.
Nearly seven months ago, a story idea sank its teeth into me and wouldn’t let go.
I wrote about it in One-dog Woman back in March, saying “I’ll be keeping the door closed on this one for a while…The new work-in-progress. One for the kids.”
Two months later I had written about twelve thousand words of Henry Hoey Hobson. No deadline pressure, so I shelved it for a couple of months while I launched and promoted my first novel, Dust.
I came back to the manuscript in August when I sold the story to my publisher on the basis of the first four chapters and a synopsis.
She wanted to publish Henry Hoey Hobson in August 2010; could I deliver the complete manuscript by 5 October?
Hell, yeah. In just over eight weeks, I wrote another forty thousand words, edited the manuscript and met my deadline.
Would I have finished Henry Hoey Hobson on the last day of the September school holidays without the pressure of a deadline?
Hell, no. I would have read that pile of books next to my bed at the beach.
But that’s OK, because I’m going to read them now. Soon as I get this publishing contract out of the way. 😉