Sunday, June 25, 2006

Walking the line

I don’t know how much I could write if I made enough money from my writing to quit my part-time (sometimes full-time!) job as a freelance editor. My writing is extremely important to me, but my “real” job comes first because I have deadlines. If I can’t meet them, I’m fired.

It’s a shame I don’t have an immediate threat like that hanging over my head if I fail to write five pages today. Deadlines do wonders for my writing. And it’s not just that I get more done. It’s that my brain wakes up and produces better material! So my career goal at the moment is to acquire more deadlines. ;)

What situations help you write better/more? Do you thrive or shut down under a deadline? Do you see weekends and vacations as break from writing or as prime writing time? Do you need to be in your usual office with your pencils arranged just so, or do you seek new places to sit and write?

5 comments:

Michele said...

Deadlines do wonders for me as well! In my day job as a technical writer, I always make my deadlines, even ocassionally staying up all night to make it happen.

For my fiction, I find it difficult to self-impose deadlines. Nanowrimo (national novel writing month) helps, because there is a deadline that many people are working towards. Once I'm in the swing of writing (or editing) so much, I can usually keep a reasonable pace for the next few months. But if I get distracted by day-job deadlines or other events, it gets harder to return to the daily routine.

Deborah Matthews said...

I found my writing easier when I had deadlines. Self-imposed deadlines don't work for me for some reason. Now that I'm retired, what worked for me in the past doesn't.

Last week I had a 5-hour glucose test, so I took my Alphasmart and managed to write about 5 pages. One reason I didn't write more is because I was uncomfortable in the doctor's office chair and had to move around a lot.

Sometimes I wonder if getting away from home would help. I'm still searching for the perfect spot.

Carla Swafford said...

I'm a hit and miss with deadlines. Sometimes self-imposed deadlines work and sometimes I say "who cares?" Usually, if I'm having a problem meeting a deadline on a book, I look at the book. Have I lost my feel for it? Did I make a wrong turn and that's why I can't finish it? Usually the answers are yes. Then I make myself go back and delete or work on another book for a while. Later something will click inside of me and then I'll return to the book and complete it.

Martha Krieger said...

Love the part about the office and the favorite pencil. That's me. I've got a routine. Hey! the older you get the more stuck-in-the-mud you get. The desk has to be clear, the pencil (it's pink) handy, and the e-mail out of the way. Then, I set my own deadline. One scene at a time. It works for me - as long as I have the pink mechanical pencil handy.

MaryF said...

I shut down with deadlines. And I'm on summer vacation now and I haven't spent as much time writing as I'd hoped. BAD Mary!