Deadlines

The word weighs heavy on our culture.

There are at least seven novels . . .

three comics . . .

sixteen movies . . .

two radio dramas, two video games . . .

four albums, two songs, one music imprint, three bands . . .

and an online entertainment magazine with the name Deadline.

All of these images evoke anxiety for me, and perhaps that anxiety is what motivates us. During my years at the university, fear of failure redefined the idea of deadlines to me. Paying thousands of dollars to not turn in a paper or project was unacceptable. Children screaming because their diaper had reached critical mass became another type of deadline. Business demands, life demands, the desperate need for sleep and food–life is riddled with deadlines of all shapes and sizes.

There are two major definitions . . .

dead·line
ˈdedˌlīn/
noun
plural noun: deadlines
  1. 1.
    the latest time or date by which something should be completed.
    “the deadline for submissions is February 5th”
    synonyms: time limit, limit, finishing date, target date, cutoff point

    “the deadline for manuscript submissions is February 14”
  2. 2.
    historical
    a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners were liable to be shot.

keep calm and meet deadlines

The first definition fits my lifestyle. Note the word ‘should’. It’s a loose one, weak, with low consequences.

The second definition is how (I’ve heard) most published authors feel about due dates. That pressure has one advantage, though it comes at a high price. Deadlines make us organize, have goals (even if they’re forced), and become more productive.

Theres_No-Escape_From_A_DEADLINECollege, running a business, having three children in four years, I know what we can endure. Without these deadlines, it’s a rare person who pushes themselves out of that comfort zone.

I’ve found that goals with deadlines are useful and help me stay motivated, especially when I reward myself with something I really want, like a writer’s workshop, a pedicure, or a tiny chocolate.

I hope you can find a way to stay motivated and use deadlines to your advantage. It will be good practice if you don’t already have an agent, editor, or publicity person keeping you on your toes.

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