I'd like to say I prepared for this post by missing my September 28th blog posting deadline, but that wouldn't be entirely truthful. Rather, in this case, missing my deadline turned my thoughts directly to deadlines.
Mr. Adams had a few things to say about deadlines.
That being said, that deadline is the reason I'm writing this post at all, even if it is three days late and totally a cop out in terms of being incredibly self-referential. I need deadlines to spur me on, and even when I get knocked out of the saddle by work or study or the weather changing.
I have to say that joining a group like the Scriptorium has been a huge help in making me accountable to someone. Well, at the very least, making me feel like I'm accountable to someone. I had been with another writing group at the university where I work, but it wasn't working out. A lot of it had to do with scheduling, but some of it (I came to realize in retrospect) was the fact that I wasn't getting a lot of suggestions on things to change or refine. I would have a manuscript that my group would give me a thumbs up on that I would take home to my fiancee, who would promptly say, "What is this shit," and light it on fire in front of me. Then one of the cats would throw up on the ashes.
Incidentally, she doesn't get to see first drafts anymore. Neither do the cats.
You can't even get to the point where you're horrifying your pets and loved ones if you don't write, however. For me to write, I need a schedule. Goals. Writing deadlines. Structure. If I don't have structure, I can't have discipline, and without discipline my writing slows to a crawl. Having a zany 2k word day once a month isn't going to get your shit written.
Discipline and deadlines also helps me to get my priorities straight. I realize that I need to outline a particular thing or get create a name or a person or technology and that I need to do that in non-writing time because while that is planning for writing, that is not writing. Sometimes that means I have to get really creative on the fly instead of deliberative, and you know what? That's okay.
I have found that I need to operate under some form of pressure to write. Too much is obviously bad; there is definitely a zone of 'comfortable pressure' that I experience where I'm motivated enough to write but not staring at the page staring back at me and wondering why I can't just get my shit together dammit.
This is what (mostly) works for me. Sometimes shit flies by. I was just chatting with Casey and he reminded me I missed the corporate post.
Looks like I've got more shit to get done.
Addendum: Turns out I actually already did it, before deadline, and promptly forgot that I had submitted it and it's already sitting pretty under September 11th. How's that for getting shit done?