Under the Wire

Good morning writers! These last few weeks have been pretty busy for me, I’m working more than I thought I would be, which is good because that means more money, but I have less time with my notebook and my computer. I must confess I’ve written these posts mere hours before they are meant to go live.

So this Wednesday I want to talk to you about the existence of deadlines and how they can help or hinder us as writers.

When I was in my first year of college I always procrastinated on my homework. My essays were written right before class but even so, I got decent and sometimes even very high grades. But one week I decided to complete one essay two whole weeks before the due date and I put in more research time and editing time. I surprised myself by earning the lowest grade I had received that term. I swore then that I would never write (for academics) without the pressure of making the deadline ever again.

When I was in grad school I had to mail my essays to my academic adviser. Snail mail. I lived in Arkansas, USA, and my adviser lived in Canada. I had to shave a whole week off of my deadline to account for shipping. I woke up the morning of my mail off date and I had one simple three-page essay to write and I couldn’t write it. I took off work early and bashed my brain against my keyboard but nothing useful came out.

My mom took me out to lunch and I was about to give up and send the rest of my assignments without that essay and fall upon my adviser’s mercy but then my mom said something and BAM. I had the idea for how I would make the essay work and half an hour later everything went out in the mail.

I can never seem to meet my own, self imposed deadlines on anything, be it writing or cleaning. But when someone else says they need something by a specific time I have it, even if I show up with only five minutes remaining. Sometimes it’s exciting, creating something under that kind of pressure, but other times I find it very stressful.

So here’s what I want to ask: Do deadlines force our creative brains to react with heightened sensitivity? How does the deadline function for you? Do you enjoy completing things with mere minutes to spare or are you one of those people who has everything planned out and sticks to your plan?

Please share your strategy in the comments 🙂

Reminders:

September’s contest prompt is here! If you, like me, forgot to sign up, you can participate with a Just For Fun entry. The deadline feels a long way off but mark your calendars for Sunday, September 27, 11:45 p.m. EDT.

If you haven’t already, read some musings on the MUSE here. And enjoy this Quickie on Perspectives here.

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About 409writinglife

Jessica Halsey was born in Arkansas and has lived most of her life in the United States and Panama. She earned a BA in Sociology from Randolph-Macon Woman's College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Would you like to know more?
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3 Responses to Under the Wire

  1. I have always thought that deadlines force my creative brain to react with heightened sensitivity, e.g. I could crank out a five page report for some class with which I had struggled until that moment. Maybe there is some truth to this, maybe a lot of truth. The problem became for me that I could only function in crisis mode. If it wasn’t a crisis, then it was put off, even if that meant putting it off would create more of a crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Just Sitting In The U-Bend…Contemplating Writing | Brigit's Flame Writing Community

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