I love deadlines, and it’s not because of the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. For me, deadlines are the best way of assuring that something gets done.
When I start a technical documentation project at work, my first question is “When do you need it?” I can then organize my project based on that deadline. I determine what information I need, who I need it from, and when that person needs to give it to me. I can coordinate with our localization department and see when they need my text so it can be translated. Having a deadline also enables me to set a realistic scope for my project. If someone in marketing wants something outrageous (and they usually do), I can say, “Your request would add another two weeks to the schedule. Are you willing to accept the delay so that I can fulfill your request?” That usually shuts them up.
Deadlines are important for my creative writing projects too. If I don’t set a deadline for myself, the project becomes something I’ll get around to eventually. It’s hard to dedicate time to my writing when I have other responsibilities that do have deadlines. Giving a deadline gives it a priority, and I can justify the time I spend working on my project.
Deadlines for creative projects prevent us from tweaking our writing endlessly. We want to perfect our project as much as possible. But no project will ever be perfect, no matter how many times we edit it. We can wind up editing and re-editing so much that we never finish. Deadlines force us to let go. We have to determine the point that our work is good enough.
The Ghosts of Reseda High has a deadline: February 16 for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. We Fun a Day Reseda participants have a deadline too. We only have ten more days.
Make the most of your deadlines. They’re something you don’t want to let whoosh by.