Me and the Deadline God

The Deadline God by Wylie Elise Beckert

The only thing I like about deadlines is telling people, “I’m on deadline” and watching the impressed/sympathetic look on their faces.

Really, that’s the only thing.

Getting things done as a writer (with all those hours and hours of potentially distraction-filled time) is knowing your own process, especially knowing what is likely to get you bogged down. I have learned to read myself pretty well.

Stuck but almost breaking through the wall feels one way, and it means I need to stay in my chair and power through. Stuck but depleted feels different and means I need to get out of my chair and take a run to recharge my batteries. Stuck and never doing this again requires whiskey.

One thing I know for sure is that I don’t like or need deadlines. I know what needs to happen to get a book done, and most of the time, I like doing it. I plan my time so that there isn’t a rush to finish line. I don’t do my best work under pressure or time-constrained or sleep-deprived. I am not a sprinter. I do endurance best.

On the wilderness canoe trips we take every summer, I carry a very heavy pack (half my body weight) over portages. I am slow but I don’t stop much and I get to the end when I get there. On the lakes, I can paddle for hours–not fast but steady. I’m a long-distance kind of gal.

But sometimes things happen.

In the lead up to the book I turned in yesterday, for example, I had three travel days for work, tax day (with unexpected complications), my daughter’s birthday party, Passover (hosted at my place), and my usual everyday stuff.

So I needed an extra day from my editor, which she was happy to offer, but made me feel like I’d let myself down. (Mantra: professional writers meet all deadlines.) And I had to work in a pound-it-out way that is very far from my natural rhythm.

Now I know there are those of you who love deadlines, who relish the chase and love the hot breath of the Deadline God on your neck. Happy times for you people!

But me…

… not so much.

If you don’t mind, I’ll get back to work now. There are deadlines in sight, and I plan to meet them for a civilized cup of tea.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *