I love deadlines: the thrill of them approaching, the accomplishment of meeting them and how they force me to get work done. I work well under pressure. I am a journalist, after all.
But self-imposed deadlines are a bit trickier, mostly because I have to set them myself. Since I just started writing my book four months ago, I’m not sure how much time I need to write a chapter or even a page. I’m still learning what expectations to set for myself.
I did finish the bulk of the proposal. But my sample chapters remained incomplete, largely because after writing one of them, I decided to redo it in a different way.
So I missed my deadline. After years in a newsroom, that was probably the first writing deadline I’ve ever missed.
But the truth is, this writing process is entirely different than cranking out a news story. If my newspaper story isn’t done by 6 p.m., I have to hand it over to my editor anyways, doing the best I can with the information I have. But writing a book is more flexible. If a scene or a character needs more work, I’m allowed to take more time to perfect it.
That means it’s okay to miss one of my self-imposed deadlines. But I set them anyhow, so I have a goal to work toward. My newest deadline? June 1. By then I hope to have drafts of the two chapters that will become part of my proposal.
And if I don’t? I’ll keep on chugging.