‘Don’t Stop, Never Give Up’
Yes… I know that’s a line from an S Club 7 track, but I was more thinking of the fact that I really need to finish this series.
So, who remembers this? ^_^ Who remembers me chatting about my experiences in all the different forms of editing I’ve been part of in recent months? Well… if you need a recap, the first post is here and you’ll find links to subsequent posts from that one. This is actually the last post from that sequence, so it makes sense to get it done.
I’m quite a nippy writer. It’s taken me quite a while to figure out that part of the reason my turn around makes people goggle (sometimes) is because it’s pretty damn fast given my other responsibilities. But that’s not the speed I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about deadlines.
I used to hate deadlines. In DSB‘s old job, she would look at rotas and lists of things needed at such-and-such a time and quite literally sob. It just seemed too much. That’s because (at the time) she was really crap at using deadlines to her advantage to help prioritise and organise. Now she, and by default, I have gotten pretty bloody good at it.
Deadlines with my independent works are all self imposed. I use them to organise myself and plan what comes where. And they can easily be shifted if I need them to. Deadlines from Breathless Press were not so flexible. Obviously if life came and slapped me in the face (as it did once or twice) I was able to go back to Jenn and ask for an extension on whatever I might be doing. Often I only needed an extra day, though once I think I asked for a whole week. Regardless, working within a time frame for someone else gave me the biggest push I’ve ever imagined possible.
Towards the end, when I was certain I wouldn’t see the manuscript again, I received an email from Jenn asking for another once over of the complete 47k manuscript. Also, because of her deadlines there was no wiggle room with mine. It was a case of just get it done. In five days I believe.
Well! With the help of my goal lists here, I already know what’s coming in my week. It means I also know what I can just shove to one side over something that has to take priority.
I’ve never been so focused. So strict. So ‘up on it.’ And this is the core message of this post, really. Deadlines focus you. They give you a clear goal to strive towards and, if they’re set by someone else, deadlines really do give you an extra shove to get work done. And, of course, meeting a deadline is always cause for celebration.
Sometimes I have to resist the urge just to set a goal, just so I can celebrate meeting it afterwards. :p
How do you find deadlines help with the work you need to get done? Or do you not set them at all? Do you find, instead, that deadlines make you panic therefore making it impossible to do anything? I’d love to hear the spectrum of thoughts on this topic, because I know there is quite a broad one.
Chat back, cats!