Deadlines: Friends or Foes

I’m a writer, sometimes. What do I mean by that? Well, I write, but not all the time. I have school and work and friends and sleep. All of those things keep me from writing on a regular basis, but when I know a deadline is coming up, suddenly I find the time to write.

I don’t know what it is about a deadline – perhaps it’s my previous experience writing for a magazine, or my training as a student, but deadlines inspire me.

I can go almost a full year without writing poetry, even when I set aside time just to sit and write and work, but when a deadline is coming up for a journal I want to submit to, suddenly inspiration strikes.

I can go through painful breakups, I can see the most beautiful sunset, I can have my life flash before my eyes but these things don’t drive me to write. A due date gets me going, somehow.

Even my trip to The Great Wall of China didn't yield the same amount of poetry a looming deadline inspires.
Even my trip to The Great Wall of China didn’t yield the same amount of poetry a looming deadline inspires.

And now I ponder, how can I drive myself to write without having to wait for upcoming deadlines?

There’s always the self-imposed deadline, but I know me. I know that these aren’t real and I won’t make myself stick to them. But if you are not me, this would be a great way of making yourself write if deadlines are also your thing. Of course, then you’d partially be like me so this still may not work.

You can always join or form a writing group that has weekly meetings in which you and others share their work. This not only makes you write for the upcoming workshop, but it also gives you feedback and encourages you to critique other writer’s works which ultimately drives you to be more critical of your own writing, which is never a bad thing.

Another tip for deadline lovers is to check out our annual post, Submissions Roundup, for actual real deadlines you can put into a chart and hold yourself to. Again, knowing myself, these would be the kind of deadlines I would join rather than the arbitrary, self-imposed kind of deadlines.

Finally, if you love to write, start a blog and set a weekly count! Our goal is to post every day, and sometimes we don’t meet that goal, but there are a lot of weeks and months when we do. Having a blog with a set publishing schedule not only keeps you on track with deadlines, but it shares your work and get feedback from others who are interested in your writing.


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