Do you find deadlines inspiring or stressful?
I have recently set some deadlines for myself for finishing a couple projects. For me, deadlines aren’t inspiring or stressful; they are useful.
One deadline was this weekend, September 15. The last couple days of last week, I realized the deadline was near and, WOW!, did I get working hard on the project. Yes, it was a self-imposed deadline, but that didn’t matter, it was a deadline. I was actually two days late meeting the deadline–September 17–but without the deadline, the project would still be languishing.
One reason it is useful is that it forced me to prioritize this project. At any one time, I might have 5-6 projects ongoing that I could work on. That includes things like writing for this blog, nonfiction projects, freelance projects and a couple fiction projects. What bubbles to the top of my To-Do list is anyone’s guess. Unless, I set a deadline. The self-imposed deadlines help me determine what to do each day or week.
Deadlines are also useful in fiction. This is the idea of a time bomb that will explode unless the characters accomplish something. There may be a real time bomb if you’re writing a thriller. Or, it may be a deadline such as an event; the character must accomplish such and so before the Halloween party, or the end of school, or before someone finds out something.
Time bombs and deadlines are useful in fiction because they up the tension. Time is short. How can the characters possibly accomplish everything in such a short time period? They can’t. Except, of course, they do. But not till the timer is at 0:01 seconds left. It’s important to give the reader frequent updates on the time frame, so the tension stays high.
Deadlines–for your writing or in your story–are useful.