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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Deadlines: Like A Boss


Deadlines feel a little like a mental flogging. Smack. Get it done! Smack, smack. You're behind now! Smack, smack, smack. You're in serious trouble of not meeting The Deadline. THE DEADLINE. Dead and line. End of the line. Do or die. There is no try.

Okay, so maybe I have a problem with the stress created by deadlines at the Day Job. And maybe I freak out a little whenever I'm behind, until it seems this horrible insurmountable task. I'm not that great at organizing things into bite-sized tasks, and tend to rush things right under the wire. If I were a race horse, I'd be last out of the gate, but would probably catch up 'round the last turn until I came in third (boom, take that Walter Farley). But those are deadlines that matter for my job, and if I don't meet those, I might very well be without one. No bueno. B.C. likes living under a roof and eating.

Writing however, there are no clients or bosses demanding things, no screams of "I need results yesterday!" With writing, there's only my self-imposed deadline, where if my brain is feeling sluggish and inclined to sit in front of the TV and zombify into liquid—why not? If I don't meet some wispy and inconsequential deadline, who cares? Sure, I feel disappointed, and a little angry at myself. But there's no external force pushing me toward any sort of goal.

Obviously, you need internal motivation. Not that I don't have any. I do. It's just that my internal slacker is better at making excuses. But without deadlines it's hard to get anything done.

So, I have to have deadlines. Goals don't quite work without them. Goals go from being "write a book" to "write an outline in a week" and "write a total of three chapters per day." Or "submit a finished short story to anthology by June." Putting a deadline on something makes it real, immediate, and a reachable goal. And the slacker brain takes a vacay to go play hackie sack in the park with the other slackers, while the high-stress somewhat organized brain sets to task.

Deadlines aren't real to me unless I write them down. And stare at them. Or post them on my desktop. Or on the wall next to my bed. These notes guilt trip me into getting things done. They're staring at me, all judgy and what-not. These deadlines are more real if I have to look at them, or better yet fill in yes-checks or no-Xs, or word count numbers. The written deadlines become the boss. They're friggin' Tony Danza. And he wants you to come in on the weekend and work overtime without pay.

Plus, if you're one of those lucky published authors, the publishing house will certainly become your boss—and they want that manuscript like, yesterday. Having an end date for things is great. And hectic.

Like a boss.


This topic is brought to you by the Bossypants McBossy Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, where writers like/unlike me have a deadline for a post on a new topic every month. Some make it--some have died trying. Some have gotten fired and are now living out of their parent's basement. Some just went insane from deadlines and are taking a mental health day. Some are Tony Danza (aka The Boss D. Anthony Brown).

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2 Comments:

At May 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM , OpenID danthonybrown.me said...

The "D" doesn't stand for Danza... :P
I declare a mental health day everyday.

 
At May 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM , Blogger Carmen said...

Deadlines aren't the boss of me! Which is also a problem of mine. I don't take them seriously enough.

 

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