You Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted To Deadlines

June 27th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

It the kind of week where it’s hard to get anything going. We do not suffer weather well in SoCal, and a strange conspiracy between an overheated sun and June gloom has lead to what is, for us, oppressive humidity. We, denizens of the region, do not object in principle to humidity. It is simply that we adhere to a strict schedule, and humidity is not allowed into the region until August or so.

Everyone is moving slowly, even the Internet. It takes us twice as long to type a sentence as it should (it takes even longer to backspace and correct overzealous key combinations). In the meantime, we are watching our inbox with something resembling awe. We can barely move an inch — Jill been whipping out chapters at a terrifying pace.

Deadlines are wonderful that way. There is nothing quite as invigorating as deadline adrenaline. All of your brain cells tingle and work as a single unit. Even the cells largely given over to daydreaming. They join the rest of the brain to push words out of the fingers. There is no way, you think when you are not in the throes of Deadline, that a human can write anything worthwhile in those circumstances. You forget, from deadline to deadline, just how it all works.

During Deadline, the story that has been idling away in the back of your mind — a clever line here, a subplot there — springs forth as if you’d been working diligently for weeks or months or years. It was always there. It simply needed an extra push to leap onto the page.

Some people only work under the threat of Deadline. Do not confuse these people with those who create artificial deadlines to trick the mind. The deadline-addicted will not fall for simple time manipulation. The deadline must be real. It must be threatening. The world, as you know it, will end if you linger.

For those who don’t get their thrills from deadlines, procrastination seems like avoidance. That is not so. Work is being done. Work is always being done. Perhaps the stories would ripen on their own, if a deadline did not exist. It is hard to say. A deadline forces the creative cycle to completion so that it may begin again.

And while the next story idles and detours, there are always revisions.

File Under: Square Pegs