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I have a problem with deadlines.20140416-204106.jpg

As someone who is generally well organized and working a day job where meeting deadlines is a thing I must do, I don’t come across as someone who would struggle with them. And usually I don’t. Except when it concerns writing.

I give myself mock deadlines all the time. By “x” date, I will finish with my draft. By “y” date, I will finish this round of revisions. I’m actually alright at making rough draft deadlines, but with revisions…I never seem to make them. I’ve tried giving myself more realistic deadlines, ones that I think have plenty of cushioning. I’ve tried breaking it down into manageable bits, where I only try to get a chapter done by “x” time. Every time, I do the same thing: I start off strong, ahead even, but I fall behind the moment I take a break. Of course when I don’t take a break, I end up stopping simply because my brain refuses to cooperate because, well, I haven’t given myself a break.

Case in point, I planned to finish my revision by the end of March. Thanks to my foot and feeling downright miserable, I decided to take a hiatus from revising, one that reeled from a few days into more than three weeks. Now, I’m trying to climb back into my work, hoping to finish up by mid-May. It’s a completely doable deadline, but I’m not sure I’ll make it if anything jolts me out of my daily writing routine between now and then.

Balance, I realize, is probably the answer to handling these self-imposed deadline. Silencing that voice in the back of my mind that sings, “I suck! I suck!” also might make deadlines a touch easier. Or maybe I need a deadline buddy, someone else who tells me when I have to be finished with things. I’m planning to look into both. I will get better at deadlines. I’ll even make a deadline for it if I have to.

If you write, do you have deadlines? Are they self-imposed or enforced by someone? How do you make them, if you do? How do you keep on writing when the task seems impossible?

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