This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.
Most writers face deadlines–whether self-imposed, because of contests or calls, or given to them by their agents and editors. Deadlines can make you sweat, especially if you still have a lot of work to do as they approach. They can also be wonderful, motivating things. Even when you’re tearing your hair out, here are the reasons they can be a blessing:
D is for Deadline, but also Discipline: It’s easy as a writer to also be a slacker. Writing is wonderful, but so many other things in life pull your attention away. Some are important: your day job, kids, family and friends, bills, errands, pets. Some are completely indulgent: a new episode of your favorite TV show, a movie, a new level on Candy Crush, a new recipe that you can’t wait to try out. Deadlines make you put your butt in the chair and write. It’s so easy to find reasons not to write–but deadlines give you a very important reason to stop dawdling and put your nose back to the grindstone.
Deadlines help you organize: If you have multiple deadlines–a contest entry, a short story call, your next book is due to your publisher–which do you work on first? You can feel harried and scattered. Deadlines help you decide. Which needs to go out first? Second? Deadlines help you put projects in order of importance.
Deadlines make your writing a real job: If there’s something at stake, a time limit, then it’s work that has to be done. Writing is no longer a hobby but a job that has to be completed within a certain time frame, just like real work.
Deadlines help you focus: It’s much easier to get the world out of the way when you know you have to produce something by a certain time. You can say more easily, “Not today, I’ve got something to write!”
How about you? Do you like having deadlines, or do they make you want to scream? How many deadlines are looming on your horizon right now?