That word strikes fear in the hearts of writers everywhere. Well, most writers. I write commercials and work with deadlines every day. I am very lucky. I set most of those deadlines. So if I look at my “to do” list and notice that a particular date is looking rather popular among my clients, then I adjust the deadlines. That way, I can be sure that the actual deadline (the one the production/traffic teams care about) is met.
I think I speak for most writers when I say that procrastination is a constant struggle and can be deadly. So, we often set deadlines for ourselves to keep us on track. With regard to my own writing, I don’t micromanage myself. I don't bother with daily or even weekly deadlines. I like to keep the process as organic as possible. But I do believe in setting a reasonable deadline to keep me on track. Otherwise I think I’d stay in “daydream mode” and never get anything actually written down.
I had a pretty firm idea as to when I wanted my next book to be released. Again, being an Indie author, I can set my own schedule. But this year got off to a rather unfortunate start and I found myself unable to write for a while. So that original schedule has been amended a bit. To be honest, I was quite worried for a while and am just happy to be able to write at all.
Another snag in the process has been that I am actually researching and working on the story outlines for not one… not two… but three projects. At once. That’s not a horrible problem to have, admittedly. But it really makes it difficult to focus and commit. To choose just one story seems to me like I am abandoning the others. Thankfully, they’re patient. For the most part.
When the characters start to show up unannounced, that’s when I know that I am on to something.
I spent the better part of two days trying to coax a villain out of the shadows. He doesn’t have a name but I do know a bit more about him, which is usually how it goes. A character appears and introduces themselves in their own way. I silently observe to determine if I should push for more information or let them divulge whatever they feel comfortable revealing. Then I dive into my pile of reference material and try to find a name that suits them. It’s a process that I really enjoy.
How do you deal with deadlines? Are you comfortable or do they simply serve to stress you out? Do you procrastinate? Looking forward to your thoughts.