I like this definition from somewhere on the web: “Under pressure to solve a problem or meet a deadline.” For we freelance writers, sometimes there is no deadline. While calls for submissions usually have one, “stuff” we just “want” to write doesn’t. And in those cases, that other “stuff” all too often never gets written. As another quote I read said, “One of these days is none of these days.” Unless you have a book contract, no editor is looking over your shoulder pushing you to finish that novel. So we have to create our own deadlines. Then we’re in charge of making sure those deadlines get enforced. After all, you can pencil in a “deadline” on your personal engagement calendar, but without some internal discipline, it may just float on by. Riding herd on yourself goes along with the territory of being your own boss. Once something does get written, submitted and accepted, then a few external deadlines may show up, such as returning a contract, or submitting editorial corrections. But other than that, it’s up to us individually to set our own controls. Having a writing partner helps. So do events like NaNoWriMo. There are ways to strengthen one’s motivation, in order to propel one to the desk. All of these help. Not every writer needs these tools. They just go to work every day and crank out material, good or bad. I wish I was one of them. Maybe someday I will be. But for now, deadlines, external or self-imposed, keep me on track. If I fail to meet them, as another friend once reminded me, I’m only hurting myself. Not something I care to do.
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Sisters in Crime