Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Power of a Deadline

Camy here, and I just finished a deadline on February 15th. It was for revisions for my October book, Protection for Hire. (For those of you who watch the TV show Human Target, yes the similarities to the opening credits is deliberate. I love Human Target! Action and humor. My kinda show. :)

Anyway, in finishing my revisions, I realized how much more efficiently I work when under deadline. Somehow my focus becomes narrower, my brain starts firing faster, and I work harder and more efficiently.

I was like this when I was working in biotech research, too. Deadlines helped me plan experiments better, and work efficiently and accurately.

I’m serious. All the sticky problems I’d been mulling over for a few days suddenly became clearer and solved in a few minutes the day before the revisions were due. I ended up trashing what I’d written earlier and writing stuff that was ten times better. I was able to make firm decisions about what I needed to cut and what I needed to flesh out.

How do you work under deadlines? Some people are NOT good with deadlines. Other people are like me and thrive under them.

I know that not all of you have an editor who will chew you out if you don’t turn in your manuscript on time. But if you’re like me and work better under a deadline—or if you don’t know if you work better or worse under a deadline—here’s an idea for you: How about setting a hard deadline for yourself to see if it helps you?

The consequences have to be as momentous as pissing off your editor. The person who saw your jewel of a manuscript and fought for you in pub board and believes in you and who tells accounting to cut you a check. You wouldn’t want to piss her off, right?

So your deadline has to be as momentous as that. I can’t involve your mother, spouse, or any soft-hearted friends who will forgive you. And it helps if it involves cold, hard, cash, although that’s not very effective if it’s your spouse and not you who’s bringing in income. It has to involve a very personal, painful sacrifice on your part if you don’t make your deadline.

Randy Ingermanson had a deal with John Olson—in order to improve his productivity, Randy told John he’d pay him ten bucks for every minute he was late getting to his computer in the morning (I think that was it. Regardless, it involved money exchanging hands, and it wasn’t a slap on the wrist, it was a painfully expensive consequence). He set a time, and John kept him accountable, and if Randy was late, John got paid. After Randy paid John a time or two, he started being better about getting to work by a certain time.

Your deadline has to be just as painful. Like if you don’t make your deadline, you have to do babysitting duty every weekend for two months for all your husband’s friends, so they could go out and do what they wanted.

Be creative. But be painful. Then make your deadline and try to hit it. See if making yourself a deadline helps you to write better—or worse.

I will be the first person to say that some people DON’T work better under a deadline. I happen to turn into SUPERWOMAN when under a deadline and I fully believe in the power of stress. :)

How about you?

GIVEAWAY: Thanks to Tina for this idea. I’m giving away a free 30-minute telephone mentoring session. To enter, answer this question: Do you write better or worse under deadline? Do you know? Also please leave your email address or some way for me to contact you, otherwise I’ll pull another name.

Winner will be announced in the Weekend Edition.

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Out now is her romantic suspense, Formula for Danger. She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Visit her website to sign up for her quarterly newsletter.


  1. Much to my husband's chagrin, I don't need a deadline to move at warp speed.


    Poor man.

    Thanks for the coffee, Toots!

  2. Hi Camy, so glad I can eat whatever I like here, without it appearing on the scale! I write pretty good (with occasional flashes of brilliance) on deadline, but I often wonder what WOULD have emerged had I spent the time to really think about the project. I hope the coffee's strong 'cause I have a killer day ahead! jenna - at - jennavictoria dot com

  3. Good morning, Camy. Deadlines get me to my computer and increase my productivity. But if my book isn't where I want it when the due date gets close, I start feeling stressed and panicky, not good for clarity of thought or creativity. At least not for me. Deadlines are a mixed bag but learning to write under them is vital. Your idea of creating a deadline with painful consequences if you miss it is brilliant.

    I brought Belgium waffle mix. The iron is hot and the syrup is warm. Help yourself. I'm on a deadline. :-)


  4. Camy,
    I relate to your blog today. I worked in the clinical laboratory as the chief of the transfusion serivice--think trauma patients brought into the ER and the doc ordering 6 units of blood STAT. I thrived on that pressure and realized many of the other Blood Bank workers did not.

    I do seemed more productive under deadline. Or is it fear? :) I agree with you about having better clarity and focus. Most of all, I cut everything else out of my life so I'm glued to the computer and not scattered by other obligations.

    Of course, what I don't like is the stress! :)

  5. Camy,
    I feed off deadlines and pressure, always have. In college, if I got on the ball and finished a paper days in advance of the due date I always got a lower grade then the papers I crammed together the day before (or hours before). At work I do my best on days when things are crazy and I'm feeling the pressure. Since I’m not published and don’t have an editor breathing down my neck I started giving myself deadlines. It’s the only way I can work.


  6. Mornin' Camy. Deadlines? I'm with Janet on the mixed bag of blessings. It's nice to have a drop dead date for any task. Love the whole end-is-in-sight thing.

    I love the luxury of months or weeks of noodling ideas in my head and letting them gel. Very theraputic, LOL!

    Panic starts to set in when I turn the calendar page and realize deadline time is drawing close. I get serious and block out all distractions for the sake of however much time I have available to accomplish the task.

    Actually, deadlines are more a deterrent to family interuptions. They leave me alone when they know I have to finish project so I can focus. Miraculously, dinners get made, clothing gets washed and animals are fed without Mom intervention, LOL!

    What a blessing!

  7. Hi Camy,

    I work better under a deadline. Part of it is my personality type but alot of it has to do with the 'day jobs' I worked/work that always had deadlines.

  8. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraFebruary 17, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    I don't have deadlines currently. I use to have deadlines when I was going through school and I tended to do better under pressure. Thanks for sharing with us Camy! Good everyone on your deadlines!

  9. good morning everyone! I hate working under stress but since I procrastinate so much I'm usually multitasking several things at once and I get all cranky and just not great to be around. (I don't write though!) Debby I feel a panic attack coming on just thinking about that job of yours! I'd either freeze up or freak out afterwards.


  10. I typically work better under a deadline, providing I don't get too stressed out! :) Balance is the key.

    Jodie Wolfe

  11. I'm not sure how I'd work with a writing deadline. Being an IT Manager, I'm used to strict deadlines. Being a guy, it's easy for me to be focused on one thing. I feel like it wouldn't be a problem.

    lance.albury at

  12. Camy,

    This is a topic I've been trying to work out. I definitely work better with deadlines. Sometimes, it seems deadlines are the only way I work (for my nonfiction).

    Contests are one way I have created fiction deadlines, but that gets kind of expensive. Plus, they only want the beginning chapter. I've recently become involved with two crit groups but deadlines aren't involved so far, which is what I'd hoped for. This is a huge issue for the unpubbed, I would say.

    Ideally, I think it's best if we set our own and our own negative and positive rewards, because everyone writes at a different speed and has different obligations, so we have to push ourselves to the right degree.

    Lately, I'm finding setting a lunch date "reward" with a friend keeps me writing solid all morning.

    Congratulations on making your Feb. 15 revision deadline!

    I'd love to win a mentoring session.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  13. Ah, deadlines ... most people's enemies, my friends, and for one VERY big reason: they control my NPS (Nice Person Syndrome) more than anything else in the world, allowing me to say "no" without the pain of guilt or sadness.

    As a little kid picked on in both in school and my family (a la Katie O'Connor in A Hope Undaunted), my primary drive is encouraging and reaching out to others, which I LOVE to do. However, e-mails and guest blog appearances and my own blog (Journal Jots) deprive me of so much writing time that I beat myself up, even though I LOVE those things. So a deadline pretty much deactivates or at least shifts the NPS to low gear so I can rev up to meet the deadline.

    Do I work better under deadline -- YES!! Up until the last month, like Janet and Audra, then I feel too stress and scattered by the deadline to write the way I want. So, like Audra said, for me, deadlines are a mixed bag, but mostly good.

    Congrats on meeting yours, sweetie!


  14. Audra and Julie both have expressed the power of a deadline: A looming deadline justifies withdrawing from society for a while, in order to do the "selfish" thing. Turning down another person's requests or pretending not to notice another's need--those things are hard, sometimes impossible. A deadline is like a corset--it won't make a supermodel out of a couch potato, but it will help to define what's already there. They also encourage us to use every stray minute.

  15. I do better with a deadline. They help me to stay more focused. I set my personal deadline a week before the actual deadline to add a small buffer in case of an extenuating circumstance. I've learned to use my calendar as a writer's tool to plan commitments around my deadline.

    lisajordanbooks at yahoo dot com

  16. Good post Camy.

    I am a deadline queen and operate very much like you mentioned whether on term papers, novel writing, or (applied) to cleaning house: All the sticky problems I’d been mulling over for a few days suddenly became clearer and solved in a few minutes the day before the revisions were due. I ended up trashing what I’d written earlier and writing stuff that was ten times better. I was able to make firm decisions about what I needed to cut and what I needed to flesh out.

    So Debby, what you're saying is you had "blood pressure?" (not the first time you'd heard that probably huh?!)

    Jodie - I'm relating to this too: Balance is the key.

    Texanne - corset on a (couch) potato. HA! Great visual there.

    Julie - you said it too - I'm paraphrasing so your idea becomes internalized, because it needs to be... Controlling the things you love to do for the thing you must do to get your work out the door.

    Congratulations Camy on meeting YOUR deadline. :) Cranking out another book - right on schedule! Way to go!!!

    I'm relating to this post big time. So - better go get with it and set that deadline. Thanks for being God's instrument to me today!

  17. Hi, Camy! I think I'm like you. But I've only had revision deadlines so far, and so far, they are awesome for motivating me to work hard! I love having deadlines. But I wonder if, say, I had a deadline to write a complete novel in five months or less, if I might panic and crumble under the pressure. I hope not! I don't think I would. But I haven't been faced with that yet.

    I'm always setting goals and deadlines for myself. Sometimes they are effective and sometimes not. Right now I'm hoping to finish the book I'm working on--I'm about one-third finished with the first draft--before I have to do edits on my book that comes out in December. But I don't know when my editor is going to send me the edits. I suspect it will be in a couple of months, so I'm working to finish this book in a couple of months.

    So, I think a little pressure is good for me. When I had no deadline for writing a new book, I floundered for almost two years and wrote very little. I'm working on not letting that happen again! I am happier when I'm productive.

  18. Camy -

    Good question. I hardly ever finish anything early - as opposed to on-time. All of my school assignments were that way.

    I do okay with self-imposed deadlines that I've announced to my writing world - or NovelTrack. But I also allow myself more grace. Part of that is family. If I was on a hard deadline for an editor, the fam [mainly DH] would be more willing to let me go sit at Panera every Saturday than for a self-imposed deadline. My self-imposed deadline for this rough draft was Jan 31 [we won't mention when it was before that]. It's still not done. Partly because of several sub plots that surprised me and I had to work in. Partly because of the 20" of snow and 5 snow days the kids had [plus 3 for DH]. Partly just because.

    That said... my new deadline is today. I have the former prologue to rework as the next to last chapter and then the last chapter [full of awwww warm fuzzies] to write. I'm giving tests in both of my classes today so I've got my laptop with me and as soon as I finish this... I'm off to work on revising.

    Everyone wave to my students hard at work!

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  19. Hi Camy:) I think I'm a bit like you in that I work better with a deadline! I remember in University...staying up till 3-4am just to get an assignment in because it was due the next day. I remember the drive and like you said work more efficiently and get more focussed with a deadline!
    I'm entering a writing contest now and have a week to finish the chapters, but I find I'm narrowing my focus and like Julie said it helps control my NPS(Nice Person Syndrome) too:)
    I would love to entered for a chance to win a mentoring session with you...I know I'd learn tons!


  20. Camy - deadlines definitely help me - even just goals with a due date really keep me going. Usually ;)

    And, of course, I'd LOVE the mentoring session. WOWzers.


  21. I am a Journalism major from college and I worked in a newspaper for a very LOOOOONG year. In the newspaper business, deadline is emphasis on DEAD.
    Deadlines are not kidding around, it is black and white and read all over you might say.

    Anyway, I think that experience helps me. You don't get a lot of leeway for artistic moods. The presses roll, if your story isn't done it doesn't go in and you're DEAD.

    So no struggle here for me and deadlines, at least not so far.

  22. Has blogger changed for anyone else today?
    What's up with the comment screen being at the bottom of the comments?
    And the captcha thing...I had to hit Post Comment three times before it went through.
    Technology bites me in the backside again.

  23. Great post Camy! I always learn a lot from you :)

    Self-imposed deadlines are definitely the hardest thing to keep. One of the disciplines I had to learn while homeschooling was meeting (and keeping) those deadlines, because the ultimate deadline (each child's graduation) was so far out there that until the senior year it's not really a deadline. Writing can be the same way...

    And Texanne - I also loved the corset on a couch potato image. Is it okay if I borrow it?

    And please enter me in the drawing...


  24. Yes Mary! Blogger is doing the same thing for me!

  25. I've always said I work well under pressure. I think I use that as an excuse to procrastinate.

    I was very like Lorna in the 3-4am mad dash to the finish in college. I made decent grades, so I believe the work was good.

    Now I'm a stay at home mom, and I'm always amazed at how much I can get done when I look at the clock and realize my husband is going to be home in an hour! I know I can work fast, but I wish I could make myself work fast earlier in the day. I'm sure I'd get more done.

    I've never had a writing deadline, professionally speaking, and my productivity is evidence of that. I like the idea of a painful consequence for not meeting a deadline. I might propose that my husband agree to send me to ACFW this year if I finish my first draft by say Sept 1. If not I don't get to go. That would be very painful. Also since hubby is sole breadwinner, he kinda has final say on big expenses.

  26. Blogger is different. I have the window at the bottom (which I like), and there's no captcha. But I didn't have any trouble getting my comment to post.

  27. Texanne mentioned using "every stray minute."

    A day or two ago, I was chatting with Carol about nothing, and I mentioned some little thing I'd done because I was bored.

    She nailed me to the wall with, "If you're bored, Write!"

    Ouch. It was a good ouch though.

    Bored minutes surely qualify as stray ones. I am a stay at home mom and pastor's wife, trying to learn the writing craft while writing. I should never be bored.

  28. You changed your commenting system! Hmmm. ;)

    I have given myself self-imposed deadlines before and it has worked out really well. This was for getting the rough draft down on the screen and I finished well over a month ahead of my time table. Now I just need to get one for my editing. :P


  29. Hi Camy:

    I think deadlines jumpstart the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Everything goes into overdrive.

    I’ve worked with daily newspaper deadlines for so many years in retail advertising that I can’t do any large project (more than 500 words) without them.

    I can relate to Mary’s experience except with advertising there is even more pressure. As you are rushing to get your current ad written and sent to the paper on time, the newspaper guy brings in the proof of tomorrow’s ad. Of course, the merchandiser tells you they are out of stock on most of the items in the ad, so you have to write a new ad, on the fly, while the guy from the paper waits for the proof to be returned. It’s like doing edits when you are facing a deadline for your current book.

    I read once in Advertising Age that the average life expectancy of advertising writers was 59 years old which was second only to air traffic controllers! Deadlines work but they can literally kill you. I used to look forward to having dental work done back then just to get out of the office for a couple of hours!

    I also think a good self-imposed deadline involves giving money to a favorite charity. It hurts the pocketbook just as much but the pain is mitigated by the good you are doing.


  30. I've not had a book deadline - YET - but I've had many project deadlines where I've worked. I work much better under a deadline. Knowing I've got a deadline coming up keeps me focused.


  31. I have to agree with Julie--having a deadline gives you the FREEDOM to say no to so many other things! Not always bad things, but things YOU don't need to be doing.

    I don't mind deadlines at all because they give you a time frame and a target to shoot for. When I know I have all the time in the world, I'm more likely to procrastinate. However, I always make it my goal to finish well ahead of the deadline...just in case.

    Yep, definitely noticed Blogspot has changed. The verdict is still out on whether I like it this way better or not.

  32. Deadlines work well for me. When I was talking about living with them now that I'm under contract, my mom reminded me of how I faced them head-on back in high school and, like you, Camy, produced better work as a result of having them.

    (Please don't enter me in the drawing for the call--unless you'd be willing to talk about promotion.)

  33. Ditto others on the comment box. But no captcha...

    Andrea - are you supposed to be here?! I thought you weren't turning on the computer until noon!!!!!!!!!!!

    I got the rough draft DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The stuff to rework wasn't as long as I thought and by the time I reworked and added to it... I didn't need another chapter!

    I do have a pesky middle chapter but figuring out the secondary character's timeline is on today's to do list...

  34. Hi, Camy!

    Unless health issues interfere, deadlines work for me. My manuscript is a year late in its completion. Between moving to SC, back to MO, then back to SC in 1 1/2 years, coupled with health issues, it just didn't happen. So, I was determined to get it done before 2011 came. I really wanted to get done before Thanksgiving, but pushed it out to 2011 "just in case." Well, I BEAT the Thanksgiving deadline and finished by the end of October. I was so excited! I used my readers to help me face my deadline. I would tell them my goals and that would push me to keep from disappointing them. They've been very patient, but are anxious for it to hit the shelves so they can FINALLY read it! :D

    Now I'm working on revisions. I don't really have a deadline yet. I want to make sure it's done right, but I think its time to set one. Hmm...I think I'll shoot for April 15th to have revisions complete and the manuscript sent back into the interested agent. That allows for time to be mom and deal with health issues and spring break. I won't be surprised if I racing to the finish the last week. :D

    I would love to have a phone critique:
    lr dot mullin at live dot com.

    I sent my manuscript in to Genesis, but I could keep the title to myself and pick a portion that wasn't sent in.


  35. Nathan Bransford's current status:

    The best way to beat procrastination is to simply not have time for it.

    There you go ;).

  36. LOL, Ruthie! I've never met you face to face, but I know what you're saying. Your energy leaps from my computer screen. :D

  37. Oh, Camy, it's so nice to meet another "Human Target" fan. Without naming the show, my blog post a couple of weeks ago talked about how the characters are put in impossible situations and when you think they're cooked, the heat is turned up.

    As for deadlines...I haven't had "novel publishing" experience with that, but ACFW's Novel Track is a great way to practice meeting a goal in a month.

  38. Can I just lament momentarily that I have not seen any Human target this season? I have several eps on TIVO... Maybe that's what I should do to celebrate...

    Or did I see the first couple eps?

    Regardless, I'm behind.

  39. Drat, Carol caught me. I knew she'd see that post and know I was breaking the rules.

    But her post reminds me that I've given my self a daily deadline. I'm working on getting all my housework done by noon each day, so I have the afternoons for my computer work. Today, my husband needed me to work something up and email it to him early this morning. That meant the computer had to be on, and I got to play a little early.

    Not to worry, I still managed to get some of the house work done.

    I worked up and sent my First Five Pages, and I'm scared. Please be gentle ladies.

    Something I keep forgetting to mention when I'm here: I posted a reveiw of Glynna Kaye's "Dreaming of Home" on my blog one day last week. Feel free to check it out.

  40. Great Post, Cami,

    I must admit, I am one of those who tries to get things accomplished before hand so I don't have to feel rushed. Even in high school or college. I couldn't stand not to get it done and then I felt like I had all the time in the world after because I was prepared.

    But maybe I'm going about it all wrong.

    Sooo... would someone like to give me a deadline. I'm willing to test and see how well it works for me.


    Tina II

  41. This is such a timely post! I definitely have trouble using the odd blocks of time in my day, but without them I don't get any writing done. I find for most of my projects--whether it be for school, the tutoring company, or my writing--I have to impose imaginary deadlines to trick myself into hitting high gear. (Somehow, this used to be easier when I was young.) I hope I don't have to resort to paying someone!

    I'd love to be included in the giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity, Camy! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  42. Ruthy--No kidding! You're always high energy.

    Jenna--I've tried taking my time and for some reason, for me, the writing just isn't as fresh and bright as when I'm in that focused deadline mode.

    Janet--Aiyah! I hope your writing is smooth so your deadline is less panicky!

    Debby--I can totally relate. When there's a time crunch, I have more clarity and focus.

    Kirsten--good for you to set deadlines for yourself!

    Audra, you should tell your family you're on deadline all the time! LOL Maybe you'll get more chores done around the house.

    Rose, I think you're right, when you have a day job with deadlines, it trains you to work better under them.

    Laura--I don't know if you set a deadline for yourself if you'll find you write better, but it might be worth the experiment!

    Susanna--I wish I could multitask! I'm terrible at it!

  43. Jodie--that's true, I need to manage my stress levels in order to be more productive. If it gets out of control, I'm a little less productive.

    Lance--you should try it! You might be pleasantly surprised at how your writing turns out.

    Cathy--rewards are good deadlines, although I personally will sometimes cheat and give myself the reward even if I haven't met my deadline, which isn't good. I found that a negative consequence works better for me.

    Julie--good point! I do find I can say no more easily when on deadline, which can be a good thing.

    Texanne--great analogy! I love that.

    Lisa, I live off of my calender, too!

  44. KC--Thanks so much! I'm glad this post was motivating to you today. It's neat seeing how many people are like me (and how many people are not like me!)

    Melanie, if you thrive under revision deadlines, I think you'd do fine under manuscript deadlines. I always have some writing to do with revisions, and the writing there is the same as the writing for a manuscript,right? You still have to try to be brilliant. :)

    Carol, you're right, family does tend to treat self-imposed deadlines differently. I think, for me, I needed to not let my husband make the distinction. Otherwise, the self-imposed deadline was absolutely no use for me. Your family might be different, though. Good luck on revisions!

    Lorna--I remember those 3-4 am assignments!! I think that's what first clued me in to the fact that I actually work better under deadline.

    Joanne, ALL my goals have due dates! LOL otherwise I'd completely forget about them.

    GREAT point, Mary! I try to treat deadlines as DEAD too, and it really helps me get the work done.

    Jan, I also found self-imposed deadlines hard, until I forced myself to assign a very real negative consequence to them. That just worked for me. I found myself meeting the deadlines more often than before.

    Andrea, that is a GREAT idea! Go for it! That's both reward and consequence all in one, and it's perfectly "painful" if you don't make the deadline.

    Casey, good for you!!!

    Vince good point about the fight or flight response! I also like your idea about giving to a charity if you don't make your deadline, although sad for the charity if you do make your deadline! :)

    Edwina--I set myself manuscript deadlines before I got contracted and that worked really well for me, too!

    Myra, I'm like you, I use deadlines as a scheduling framework and that works best for me!

  45. Keli, your mom is a wise woman! LOL I was like that in high school, too!

    Carol, congrats!

    Linnette, good for you! Congrats! I definitely think using your readers for accountability is great!

    Sandy, I love Novel Track! It's such a great idea, and it's more than just once a year like NaNoWriMo.

    Carol, you MUST watch Human Target!

    Tina, everybody is different. Some people really don't work well when they're rushed on a deadline, and that's totally fine. MaryLu Tyndall is like that and look how great her books are! But I also do think that if you can learn how to write your best while you're on deadline, that's good experience for when you get under contract.

  46. Renee Ann, I don't know about you, but as I got older, I ended up needing to use cold hard cash to motivate me (or as a consequence to motivate me). I'm not sure what the correlation is between age and monetary consequence, but there it is. ;)

  47. Hey Camy! Thanks for this great post today. WOW--as I read I nodded my head AND felt guilty all at the same time, LOL. For years my middle sister (who's a nurse) and I have agreed: We work MUCH better under pressure! It's amazing what can be done when I know company is due to arrive in 10 minutes, but I have 45 min. worth of things left to do! ~ The "guilty" feeling I had as I read is because it's now 5:15 p.m. and I'm JUST NOW starting to work on my daily writing...I honestly meant to start this morning, but seemed to "jump" from one task to another today--none of them writing. *sigh* So, I'm thinking your suggestion about setting a deadline for ourselves just might be what I need to do. ~ Thanks again for sharing (I enjoy your sense of humor too!). Blessings, Patti Jo

  48. PattiJo, don't feel guilty! I think everyone works differently. I fully believe that some of my writing done on deadline is better than stuff I putz over the few months before. I've had my crit partners confirm it, actually!

  49. Camy -

    I think it would be different if I had a deadline to get a final draft in by x date. Then I could make my own deadline of x-2 months to get the rough draft done and then 2 months to polish [or whatever - my finger hit the 2 ;)].

    But 'Honey, I'd like to get this second MS done by 1/31. I know no one's bought the first one and this is the second one so it could be seen as sort of pointless but it's really not because this is the story I've wanted to write for 6 years now' - well, that just doesn't cut it.

    Now if I said the great and mysterious Linette had given me a deadline for Nick and Debbie's story - well, that might be something different =D. Hear that Linette?!

  50. Camy, I do better with a deadline as well. And I'm learning that I need to set myself a shorter deadline so I don't spread out in the luxury of a long one and take more time than I really need. I set my own personal deadline of a month and a half early on my wip first draft. That way I'll get in better habits of working quickly. And I'll have more time to revise and polish.

    Great post! so glad you got your revisions done well!

  51. Hi,
    I have thought about it and I have to say that with some things a deadline helps and for others not so much, unlike you my creativity is what flounders under pressure. But my decision making is good under pressure. I'm glad you found something that works for you! I guess for me I have my most creative time in the middle of the night! When I should be sleeping. But a little pressure helps it get done, the immense pressure-not so much. Though I will try to push myself more, and try some deadlining to help it go faster, and give me motivation. I think at times I need that.

    Faith Oygard

  52. Carol, I don't know if this one will work for you, but before I got contracted and I wanted to write two books a year, I told my husband, "Honey, I have a deadline of December 30th. If I don't get the book done by then, I owe my friend $100." He rolled his eyes and said, "Well, be sure you get it done, then!" And actually, closer to the deadline, he was very understanding about doing dishes and laundry for me. And this was during the time when he wasn't even that supportive of my writing (that didn't really come until he held my first book in his hands, then he realized that this writing thing was serious).

    Missy, that's a good idea. Why a month and a half? Does it take you that long for revisions?

    Faith, like I mentioned in my post, this doesn't work for everybody, but if you're the type of person who works well under some pressure, a deadline can help you have more focus and clarity sometimes.

  53. Definitely better with a deadline. Always have. I'm a writer who will get it done when faced with a deadline, but take forever--and maybe not finished--without a deadline. Self-imposed doesn't work. I like me, so I'm probably not hard enough on myself. Which is also why I've been working on losing the same lbs for the last 4 years. I might get there this time, though because my teen son has turned into Sargeant Get Up and Don't Eat That

  54. LOL your son sounds hilarious! Altho maybe he isn't so much when he's after you! My self-imposed deadlines have to involve serious consequences or they just don't work for me--I'm like you, I like me! LOL

  55. I'm terrified of missing a deadline, so I've learned to work well under pressure. But since I hate pressure, I try not to get too far behind. If I panic I can't work. I'm too old to stay up all night and write!

  56. I write better, stronger and faster when under deadline...seriously! Not sure why, but having to have that manuscript done on a certain date, just puts a fire under you to finish!

  57. Cara, I don't know how you do that! I'd love to be early but the writing I do doesn't seem as fresh.

  58. I do work better with deadlines. Something about actually having to commit to a specified time make its work. I'm staring at a number of contests I want to enter at the moment. I know the time is coming up soon.

    Yes, I would love to be entered.


  59. I write much better under a deadline Camy. It seems like when I have all the time in the world I fill up the endless space and take far too long.
    Thanks for the post &
    Please enter me:

  60. Deadlines are great. You are so right - fear of personal pain is an excellent motivator!


  61. I'm going to find out real soon. I have an April 5th deadline and it's looking very scary. I'm going to pretend it's March 5th and then I have to revise like a mad woman, which I'm not far from becoming!

  62. Because I can be a procrastinator, I like deadlines because it keeps me accountable. Case in point, I had an article that I needed to have done by today. I finished it at 11:30 last night. I would dearly love a phone critique!


  63. Hey Camy! Great post:) Awesome giveaway too!!!

    Deadlines are definitely a great motivator. It sets a path allowing you to strive for goals, getting from point A to B.

    I'll be honest though, I have to be very careful on what I decide my goals are cuz once I set something, I won't quit. And that can become stressful.

    I think everybody needs a good nudge and a deadline definitely pushes you into gear.

    I would LOVE the mentoring session opportunity! Please add me to the list,


  64. Walt--a contest is a GREAT deadline! Go for it!

    Janet--I find that I take too long, also, when I have lots of time!

    Jennifer--LOL yes, fear of personal pain is a good way to put it!

    Jillian--do it! But if you add some negative consequence to the March 5th deadline, that might help you too!

    Kathy, sounds like what I would do! LOL

    Martha--good way to put it, to get you from point A to point B! I honestly think not quitting is a great personality trait. It's definitely something you need as a writer!

  65. Carol,

    You got it, girlfriend! I'm working on a coming up with a deadline for you now! :D