by Bunny Miner
If you've ever had a a deadline, these words have probably rattled around in your head as that deadline looms larger each day. As the deadline grows closer, everything takes on a more urgent meaning and all the pressure can lead to the dreaded WRITER's BLOCK. So, how does one avoid the pressure of deadlines when they are unavoidable?
Well, the simple answer is don't procrastinate and plan out your schedule. Often times this is easier said than done. It's amazing how many 'emergencies' pop up when you have a deadline. I think a lot of that has to do with avoidance because it's easier to blame the 'emergency' for not getting what you need to done. (or I like to think this happens to people other than myself...)
Having a plan and a schedule, though, is really a necessity weather you have a deadline or not. The old adage of how you eat an elephant is one bite at a time is true for writing and all projects. Some may worry that if you 'force' yourself to write, you won't be creative but I submit if you wait for your muse, you'll never get your project finished!
Some examples of eating the elephant include picking a specific time to write everyday. Set aside, say an hour every day. That is your writing time. Nothing else can happen during that time except your writing. An hour may not be enough for your project or it may not be something you can't fit into your schedule because of little ones but whatever the amount of time you have, commit to it and do it every day. Okay, you can take Sundays off ;)
Another possible way to eat the elephant is to have a specific word count or page count that you require yourself to met everyday. Again, the time required to do this cannot be sacrificed for anything, it has to be your priority. That means turning off your cell phone, unplugging from the internet, ignoring the house work (I'm always looking for an excuse to do that!) and doing nothing but your writing. If it coms to your normal bed time and you haven't reached your designated goal for the day, guess what? You're not going to bed until it's done!
I can hear the whining. "But I'm too tired to write. I have to get up early. Blah, blah, blah" Well guess what, you will learn your lesson and plan to do your writing earlier! Even if what you write is crap. It'll be better than not writing (this article may be a case in point...)
Finally, you can't do this alone. I know we think we can do everything by ourselves but we tend to lie to ourselves...You need an accountability partner. Not your best friend who wants you to go shopping anyway, but someone who'll hold your feet to the flame and, well, keep you accountable. Look for someone in your critique group or someone who knows how badly you want to reach your goal and will do whatever it takes to help you reach it.
I'm sure there are other ways to meet deadlines and organize your writing life but alas, I procrastinated and even though time was of the essence with this article/blog, I missed my deadline...Sorry Marsha!