1. FoxyMomma
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    FoxyMomma Contributing Member

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    Writing under pressure...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FoxyMomma, Sep 7, 2010.

    I always seem to write better when I am under the pressure of a deadline.

    Case in point: I am taking a creative writing course this term and our first assignment was given on Thursday. It's due tomorrow and I had been trying to get it done all weekend. At least 4 times I crumbled up the page and tossed it. I didn't even look at it yesterday. Tonight, I sat down, opened Word and wrote the assignment in one try (with a bit of editting).

    Does this happen to anyone else? I find that I work better when I'm doing any type of work when there's the pressure of a deadline. It's not just with writing. It really bugs me sometimes when I want to get things done without stressing up to that dreaded deadline but like this weekend, the ideas just don't flow.
     
  2. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    From what I've read on writer's blogs and in writing advice books, this is a common occurrence. Many people find it easier to buckle down and work when there's a deadlime looming -- and writers are no exception.

    One theory is that we worry more about making it "perfect" when we have time to waste, and when only a day remains, we are willing to settle for "pretty good" as long as we can get the project done in time.

    Another is that stress or tension may help us organize our thoughts. If we brainstorm for several days with no real progress, the tension of the deadline may galvanize our brain into making a workable plan.

    And a third possibility is that when we write, it is easy to allow ourselves to get distracted. Getting a drink or a snack, checking email, thinking about errands we need to run, and so on. And when we multitask like that, when we get distracted, we frequently end up spending more time doing other things than writing even if we've been sitting down and "writing" for an hour or more. But with a deadline, it's easier to force ourselves to concentrate instead of interrupting our progress with unimportant distractions. And when we really concentrate, we can get a lot more done.

    Not that this is by any means comprehensive; there are certainly other solutions. I'm just saying that what you've observed appears to be a general trend, and the above are a few possible explanations that seem to fit the data.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This doesn't happen to me (I don't think), but I recently read an interview with Hunter S. Thompson in which he said that nearly everything he ever wrote was written under major deadline pressure. He went so far as to say that, without deadlines, he'd probably never have written anything.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Well I have to write 2 articles a week (sometimes within a 2-hour period to get one completed), so I'm used to it.

    For creative stories, I've actually found that I can do better if something is due the next day. It really forces my creative juices to get going. And, you can't let your mind slip into "Ehh, I'll just stick something down and revise is later" mode, so oftentimes the writing is of better quality when it's last minute.
     
  5. KittyGoesRawr
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    KittyGoesRawr Member

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    Lol, that's never happened. I can't stand people telling me what to do, so, and the idea of someone telling me how to write, or in which manner, or by which time I should have it done, - haha, don't think so. >=]
     
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  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Kitty, I love your individualism! Go you! I'm the same way, except with articles in which I kind of have to take orders. :p But yeah. Stories = do your own thing.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I have to say I work best under pressure. Time in hand makes me easily distracted and unable to focus. Say for example, I have decided to participate in the short story contest regularly as a writing exercise. I know the topic days before the submission deadline, yet I write only when there is one/two days left, and once I start writing I finished the story in three/four hours.

    So, what I usually do for my other writings is to set imaginary deadlines. It works, but not as good as the actual looming deadlines :)
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have fibromyalgia and adrenalin produced by fear and certain kind of stresses pushes the pain and brain fog to the background and allows my brain to work better - should imagine everyone else is similar just not as noticeable when it is not so pronounced.

    So I can spend a week struggling and then produce thousands of 'well researched' words in two hours.
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Join the club. Happens to me all the time.
     
  10. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah that's the same with me. I'll attempt to do work in plenty of time before the deadline, but I only buckle down and get down to it and actually write the thing until it's the day before, or sometimes it's literally not until a few hours before the deadline which is a bit annoying.
     

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