This week, with my busy day job (in a career that I love) and my hobby-morphing-into-second-job writing, I have so many deadlines that thinking about them became overwhelming. Looking at my schedule from a distance I realized that those dates marked in blood-red bold print—deadlines—are a blessing rather than a bother. To ensure that my attitude remained positive I decided to make a list of the reasons that I, as a writer, should appreciate deadlines rather than fear them:
1) You have a deadline. This means that someone wants your work. Hello! Someone wants—and is waiting for—those precious words of yours. Don’t disappoint them or yourself by becoming obsessed with a numbered square on a calendar.
2) Deadlines force prioritization. A few years ago I was working two very busy jobs and going to college. I had so many deadlines each week that at one point I almost had a complete meltdown. One Monday morning I got up and said “I will finish what is due today and worry about the rest of the week tomorrow.” My deadlines for Monday were met and, as I took my week one day at a time only worrying about what was due that day, I felt less stressed and never missed a deadline.
3) Deadlines force organization. You might not know which line to get in during rush hour at the grocery store but if you know what you’ll be making for dinner that night at least you’ll know what ingredients you need.
4) Deadlines conquer procrastination. When no one cares if you write (including you) it’s easy to turn on the TV and watch re-runs of old 1980s sit-coms. But when you’ve given your word and commit to delivering your work by a certain date, you are strengthening your commitment to be a professional writer.
5) Deadlines indicate success. In case you missed number one I will reiterate: you have a deadline. Something that you submitted or queried or proposed was accepted. Don’t run away from success – run toward it!
Everyday stress gets compounded most often because we allow it to. One day at a time. Forget the things that are out of your control and stay focused on the circumstances that you can control. Sometimes hindrances left alone sort themselves better than you would have been able to, so don’t stress about them. Deadlines are like the crazy killer waiting in your closet—you know at some point he’s going to jump out so you become petrified before he ever shows his ugly head. Fear: that’s what he’s counting on. Instead, be prepared and surprise that frightening killer—or deadline—and when he jumps out of that closet rip off his hockey mask and plant a big kiss on his menacing mug!
Loni Emmert is the co-author of BUTTON HOLLOW CHRONICLES #1: THE LEAF PEEPER MURDERS available August 2010 from Mainly Murder Press. She is a member of SinC, RWA and writes articles on writing, reading and other related topics. (http://thewordmistresses.com)