Earlier this month, I commented on a 4am Writer post about writing something new. The piece would then be submitted and the winner earned a coaching session or a free copy of one of two writing handbooks. I signed up because I wanted a challenge. And I thought surely I could come up with something and submit it by the end of the month. After I found a writing prompt to build on, I wrote out scenes on my phone. Kind of a way to keep it fresh until I could get to my laptop. But life has a way of keeping you “busy.”

As it stands, the deadline is less than a week away. I haven’t started to put my story on my laptop. If that wasn’t enough, I started a “brand new” story. Like before, I wrote out the most important scenes on my phone. And like before, I’m waiting to get to my laptop so I can type it out.

I remember in school having deadlines to write essays and stories. But after graduating, I wasn’t as anxious to complete stories; I could take my time to make sure they were good and ready. But having that mentality made me lax. I wasn’t motivated to sacrifice time and certain activities in order to get things done.

But if I really think about it, I do set deadlines for myself. On the job, there are deadlines I must meet. I plot out my plan to get the tasks done as efficiently as possible. Same with my journaling. Unconsciously, I set a deadline of writing something in it before the day is done, and it does. It’s like second nature almost. So what changed when I accepted this challenge? Urgency. Seeing how I had time to work on this challenge, the urgency wasn’t there. Now that I’m less than week away from the deadline, I feel the urgency and the guilt of not getting this done sooner.
Urgency is key to meeting deadlines, as everyone knows. And as everyone knows, meeting deadlines requires discipline. Discipline in the sense of planning out the steps to see a task through. I do it on a daily basis on my job and in my home. So why am I not doing the same with my writing? Where is the sense of urgency to write these stories? Is it a fear thing? Maybe. Is it a discipline thing? Absolutely.

I may or may not meet this deadline, but I hope that I do. The bottom line is that I need to practice working on deadlines so I can develop that sense of urgency. when it comes to my writing. I need to be develop the discipline needed to develop said urgency. And the best way to do that is to set deadlines for myself and create a rewards/consequences system. If anyone else has any ideas, I’m all ears.


3 thoughts on “Deadlines

  1. Hey George! Just wanted to let you know I am so happy you sent me that scene. I will definitely read it and give you my thoughts — in a purely supportive and encouraging manner! The very fact you motivated yourself to get even a scene to me shows that you do have the gumption for this crazy thing called “writing.” Sometimes, we have to get creative and bend the rules and step outside our comfort zones to make it happen. I’m so glad you did!


    1. George, I live by deadlines! I love to procrastinate too. I find when I have a deadline, I do the best in the last few minutes. Give me 4 weeks to work on something, and I’m writing it in the last 2 days. Then I can review it and send it out. The longer the time period, the more I procrastinate. Find what works for you, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss the deadline. There will always be something else that you can enter.


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