Monday, January 14, 2008

Deadlinitis

I guess if the gals here at the diner are making their New Year’s Resolutions public knowledge, I’ll fess up to mine. It’s not to lose weight (which I need to do) or to exercise more (which I should) or to declutter my house (ain't gonna happen). My goal is to set a deadline and meet it. Unfortunately, it seems to be a goal I can’t achieve. You see, I have deadlinitis.

It’s not that I can’t meet deadlines. I can. Pre-kids, I worked in the graphic design field for 14 years. Deadlines were a fact of life and I had no trouble meeting any of them. I do web site design on the side now and update my clients’ sites on time without fail. I joined the ladies here at the diner and I haven’t missed posting a blog on my Monday since we started. But every time I set a deadline to finish my latest 2-years-and-counting-WIP, I can’t meet it to save my life. Why?

I have a theory about that (other than the fact that “procrastination” is my middle name). With the graphic and web design, I have paying clients. Money is a great motivator. With this blog, I have 10 other authors relying on me to pull my weight. But with my writing, since I don’t have an editor’s deadline looming over me like a circling buzzard, I have to give myself self-imposed ones.

Therein lies the problem. I’m not a stern task master. Since I’m the only one holding ME accountable for meeting my arbitrary deadline, it makes it real easy to push it back when the deadlinitis flares up. Family vacation? No writing gets done at Disney. Christmas? I wear the Santa hat at my house and, as usual, the shopping elves were no where to be found to help me out this year. Kid’s after school activities? Once they step off the school bus, their world takes priority over mine. Major home remodel? My husband gets the urge, calls the contractor and writes the check--it falls on me to run all over town to pick out the paint, the carpet, the countertops, the tile, etc. Funeral? Major sinus infection? Unfortunately, life (and death and illness) does get in the way. I’ve pushed my deadline back for my latest WIP so many times, it’s gone into not 1 but 2 years. Pit--tee--ful! My agent is going to drop me if this thing doesn’t turn out to be a masterpiece of romantic fiction.

So my goal this year is to shake my deadlinitis, no matter what. Yeah, right. Like Francesca said in an earlier post, I KNOW ME. My last deadline was to finish my WIP by the time the glittering crystal ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. Didn’t happen . . . again. *sigh* But I’ll set that new deadline again anyway, because that’s what I do. Plus, this time if I don't have it done by my next chapter meeting (Feb. 9th, aka the new deadline), my writing friends are going to stand me up and ridicule me in front of everyone in attendance. Hey, maybe the threat of public humiliation will do the trick this time.

4 comments:

  1. So, I'm not the only one? Want a deadline partner? We can email our deadlines and flog each other with slightly wet noodles. But we will be held accountable...to each other. I need to finish this MS and the world has been plotting against me since August.

    Let me know if you're interested. Today is a new day!!

    ;)

    Talia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Deadlinitis is a major epidemic among writers, especially those of us without an editor or agent breathing down our necks. Like you, Lori, it's too easy for me to not write some days.

    Having a regular critique partnership helps a lot. The pressure to get new words out gives you no choice but to plant your butt and write. If you don't, you get razzed, though on a smaller scale than your chapter. Fear of humiliation is a GREAT motivator ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heck, I might be going on 3 years for mine, all things considered! Sure, I completed other projects in that time, but not the novel. And I'm SO CLOSE!!!

    How close are you all? Let's figure out a plan... I'm serious, I'm just a couple chaps away, but I wrote myself into a corner. Just ask Cathy!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Talia -- my new deadline is Feb. 9th, so flog away if I don't meet it.

    Cathy -- I've tried the critique partner/group route before but it never works for me. Because I don't write in sequencial order, nobody can critique me if I'm jumping from ch. 3 to ch. 32 to ch. 17. It makes sense to me, but to no one else.

    Writer & cat -- OK, you got me beat with the 3 yrs. I'm at 406 pages with 3 chapters and 4 misc. scenes to finish/polish in various places in the book (the ending's done). Doesn't sound like much, but I'm having a heck of a time trying to push my way through.

    ReplyDelete

 
ja