Commit #2: A killer deadline (and a schedule)

Self-imposed deadlines have assassinated my life. Yet, I must finish my novel. In a month. Here’s my plan

Timetable schedule novel-writing editing nanowrimo; ending in a party

My novelling schedule. Making a timetable is an excuse to use some nice stationary. Laura Eades 2014

One thing I’ve loved about writing a novel is that, (unlike with theatre where the show must go on on a given date regardless of health/happiness/loved ones/readiness), this time when my creative obsessions lure me off-course in my life I’ve had time to take a break and reset the flight path.

Now, I’m pregnant, due in May, and I really really need to get an edited version of my novel finished. I’ve even missed a personal deadline when a week in hospital and a really tempting other creative project – an animation (more about that soon) – came up.

I. need. to. finish. my. novel. So I’ve set a date. My birthday. Five weeks from now.

The power of deadlines

Deadlines are amazing. If you take them seriously, they make prioritising easy. So easy, you can find you’ve sacrificed your sanity to meet them. You just kill off everything that stops you reaching them. Like, relaxation, love, meditation, exercise, lunchbreaks… So how is it that this time, I won’t let my deadline kill the real life in me?

I’ve got a schedule

So I know I’m on track and can ‘afford’ my time off. My incentives are written on my schedule. I mark my progress on my schedule, the hours I put in.

I made my schedule with sexy timetable paper from Magma, and an excessive selection of coloured pens. It was a pleasure to put my pledge onto paper.

I’ve got rewards

And some of them are time with friends, weekends away, trips to the gym, massage sessions, clothes I covet. Some are a simple smoothie or a bunch of flowers for my desk. There’s a whopper at the end. I’ll tell you what that is later. And a party on the calendar too.

I’ve got a penalty

An appalling penalty for failure. My friend thought it up and I was horrified. If I fail, I’ve got to… no I won’t tell you now. I’ll save that for a future blogpost.

My goal is not creative

This really helps when you’re doing a creative challenge: set the goal to one side of the creativity (eg. completing a certain number of creative actions, rather than any kind of standard). In this case, the goal is about ploughing through the chapters. So I won’t have the option to worry if it’s good or not. It’s sure to better than it was before I started.

I’ve asked for help

Loyal supporters. Husband cooking food for the freezer. Inspiring friends to write guest blogposts so the blog keeps alive. And I’ll help myself too, by not taking on anything too new or challenging during this time.

I’m announcing my intentions

Here and now. This is my pledge. To finish the novel by 7th April and collect the prize, or pay the penalty.

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How do you feel about deadlines? Good, bad, or positively evil? Open the comments section by clicking on the pale grey dot with a plus sign on it underneath the blogpost.