Of Deadlines And Cookies

I have heard many writers say that they love deadlines, that they don’t sit down to write unless they have one. I am not one of those people. I don’t like pressure, and I hate all-nighters. (If I’m going to be up all night there better be loud music and a fair amount of whiskey involved.) Last Friday, however, I learned just how powerful a motivator a deadline can be, even for me.

That afternoon I was looking at my calendar and was shocked to see that a deadline I thought was on the 15th, was actually today (Monday the 12th). I immediately called my guy at work to cry about how I was never going to make it. I was supposed to turn in 100 pages, and I had only written 65. This left me three days to write 45 pages. It was impossible.

Thankfully, I called the right person. He gave me a pep talk, and said he would entertain our toddler all weekend, so that I could just sit and write. I hung up and got right to work. I managed to write five pages while our girl took a nap that day, and another 5 after she went to sleep that night, leaving 35 for the weekend. I was still skeptical that I was going to make it, but 35 was better than 45.

I sat down Saturday feeling the effort was futile, but that I had to try. I wrote five pages and then took a cookie break. I wrote five more. Then I laid on the floor, ate some cookies and stared at the ceiling, not believing I was only half way to my goal for the day. Then I got up and wrote another five. By eight at night I had written twenty pages – almost twice as much as I had ever written in one day before.

On Sunday I followed the same schedule – five pages, cookies, five pages, cookies… and what do you know, I hit my goal before it was even time for dinner.

This morning I printed out the 100 pages to turn in, and I feel good. I still can’t believe that I managed to write that many pages over one weekend. They will need a lot of re-writing, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Today I go back to my five-pages-a-day, totally sane writing schedule so that I can meet my next deadline on November 16th with a little less drama.

Stay tuned.

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