Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Deadlines Are Falling On My Head...

Last night, my awesome brother called me with an assignment to write a press release for his company. This is something I do every few weeks for him. Now, my brother is one of those people who has so many balls flying in the air that I have no idea how he manages to do everything and still find time for little things like breathing and sleeping. So he tends to call me at the last minute. And by last minute, I mean REALLY last minute. He once called me to write up a bio on him for an article that he needed within the hour. Gotta love him.

Well, last night he had two releases for me to do...one I had previously done that needed some tweaking so it could be released by the end of the day (which gave me 2 hours) and another that he needed for this morning. I just laughed, wrote down the info I needed, and got to work.

But that is me. I do well with deadlines. Which is not the same as doing well under pressure, by the way. I don't do real well with pressure. You put me on the spot and ask me some totally easy question and my mind will go blank. I haven't figured out why I do this yet. However, tell me you need love my manuscript but want the entire thing edited by the next day, and I'm your girl.

Which works well with the fact that I tend to procrastinate. Put it off until the last minute and then bust your tail getting it done. I'm not sure why I work well with a deadline. I think it's because it forces me to focus. I just don't have a choice. Someone somewhere is waiting for whatever it is I'm working on. My brother is waiting for his press release. My professor is waiting for my paper. My agent is waiting for my revisions. My kids are waiting for dinner ;-D So putting it off again is not an option.

This is one of the reasons I try to give myself deadlines. 1000 words a day. A chapter a week. Writing every morning from 8-11. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work. Because I know it's my own deadline and nothing devastating is going to happen if I don't stick to it. But I do try, and it does help.  

So, how do you work? Do deadlines loom over your head, overshadowing and crushing the life out of your creativity? Or do they spark some rush of adrenaline, forcing the words to flow from your fingers? Do you give yourself deadlines?

10 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

Man, I am SO MUCH better with deadlines! seriously...and yeah, I impose them on myself all the time!

Jamie D. said...

Yep - I'm a deadline girl too. I can mess around with something for hours, but once I get close to the deadline, I can have that same thing done in 15 minutes (depending on the "thing", of course). I have no idea why my brain is wired that way, but it is.

I'm constantly imposing deadlines on myself...whenever possible, I do it in public, since I feel more accountable that way. ;-)

Elana Johnson said...

I do give myself deadlines, but I constantly change them based on my progress. Does that make sense? Like I wanted to have my novel revised and sent off by the end of January. But when I really got into it, I realized I had to rewrite it, not just revise it. So I adjusted the deadline.

Jen Chandler said...

Deadlines do work best for me but I have to have someone else give them to me. If I do, I'll just change them as I see fit!

Jen

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm totally a deadliner kind of girl. Get me up against the wire and I can perform! Give me too much time and I do a mean impression of a bean bag.

Michelle McLean said...

Jen and Elana, I do the same thing. I stick to them for a little while, and I really do try to do the 1000 words a day thing when I'm writing, but self-imposed deadlines always get changed :)

Jaime and L.T. - LOL! Oh yeah, I procrastinate with the best of them. Like right now. I should be unpacking the house and I just can't bring myself to do it. It has to be pulled together by Monday though because my stepson is moving in. So I bet this weekend I'll be an unpacking machine. But right now? Yeah, not so much :D

Amy Tate said...

In a sense. I work off of lists. I love the satisfaction of crossing through a finished task. I like deadlines to an extent. But an hour? Whew! You are a good sister, lol!

Michelle McLean said...

Ooo, Amy, I LOVE lists :D I have them all over the house. Though that might have more to do with the fact that I can't remember what I need to get done without one :D

Lindsey Edwards said...

I try and give myself personal goals. I work towards a certain word count by a certain date. I'm notorious for clicking the word count icon on my WIP!

Michelle McLean said...

I'm right there with you, Lindsey! In fact, that was one of the hardest things for me writing my last book by hand...not being able to constantly check my word count LOL I like to see that progress being made! :)