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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Do deadlines freak you out?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by deadrats, May 13, 2019.

    So, deadlines are a big part of writing, especially when it comes to publishing. I usually don't have a hard time getting stuff in on time, but the idea of this looming countdown always seems to make me nervous. Do any of you struggle with deadlines? Either meeting them or just freaking out about them. I wish that send button wasn't so hard to press. Know where I'm coming from? Any tips to bypass this freakout stage?
     
  2. Harmonices

    Harmonices Senior Member

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    Hell yes. My last job involved managing projects with deadlines. Absolute deadlines, no movement, and hundreds of people relying on the completion of the project, on time. It felt like a grinding burden a lot of the time, made me almost nauseous on occasion, especially before delivery. Doing it again and again and again, however, did help me to get used to that. Willpower to grind through the shitty feelings can be forged with practice, cultivating *single minded focus* on completing specific tasks that contribute to the whole, and getting into a mindset of 'just do it' (also known as 'mental override' I think) helps.

    My willpower muscles have become more flabby since changing jobs, so I'm giving myself little challenges to help get that grit back. My challenge this month has been to start every day with a cold shower. I wake up, cosy and warm, I know what's coming, and it can be 'errgh' to do. It's a small act, but I'm committed to doing it, so I do it. Next month I'll add another little challenge to my day, maybe something that takes longer and is more boring. But I'll treat it with the same absolutism.
     
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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I actually find them useful - an external stimulant to help me get to work!

    I guess for that to be effective, they need to be reasonable deadlines, not ones that will be impossible to meet. But, given the reasonableness, I'm a fan.
     
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  4. Malisky

    Malisky Mercury Retroblade Contributor

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    They freak me out everytime but I must admit that they push me forth. Without them I would most probably get stuck inside my mind. I would delay forever upon decision making because there is always something better than what you've originally thought of creating and then something better and it never ends. I'm trying to set some deadlines of my own to get some personal projects done but it's hard not to snooze them.

    Some tips I found through experience useful:

    1) Stick to the plan. Don't doubt it even if it's not perfect. Just get what you started finished. Completion feels great either way. You get a grasp of it towards the end and your original doubts start to dissipate.
    2) Center yourself. Of course you can do it. Don't get your self-worth tangled up with your work. Leave it aside for another time. Focus on what you are doing and leave any other concerns for later. They tend to only distract you. They make you go slower and drain you out of energy. Be here, be now.
    3) If you got other important issues to solve, try to solve them first or at least make a temporary truce with them if you see that they persist in derailing your train of thought. This is not always in your control to solve or at a preferable time, but try to stay calm, mind over heart and do whatever you think is in your power to do to solve it. If your best is getting to it later (or sincerely communicate this to someone) then so be it.
    4) Organise well. An efficient environment gets you a long way.
    5) Don't forget to walk! Don't just sit in front of your pc or whatever for hours non stop (especially when you are stressed and stuck). It's bad for your health and for your mind. Take a bath, exercise, sing, pet a cat, meditate, do whatever makes you happy and reduces your stress levels. Decompress child! First comes you then the rest.
    6) Find a type of schedule that works for you. This takes some trial and error. Everybody is unique and so are their schedules. Some like them rough while others mellow.
    7) Sleep and rest well. Your brain will bleed if you force it to produce more than what it can take. Don't do this to your brain or it will turn donkey on you. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
    8) Oh, and try not to eat too much fast food. Put some good proteins and vitamins inside your system. Good nutrition keeps you sharper.

    Good luck! :D
     
  5. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Deadlines are pretty much the only thing that can push me into doing work. I work well with deadlines.

    I think the only way forward is not to dwell on it so much. Send it. Who cares what happens? I sorta work on the assumption that everything I write will be rejected, but you don't know for certain until you send it, so let's do it!
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm the sort who likes to get things done early, so a deadline usually means I get started right away, etc. If I'm going to relax, I'd rather do it at the end, rather than the beginning. However, I can certainly get stressed if something interferes with me getting the work done as planned.

    That being said, I've never had to do creative writing to a deadline. I have no idea how that would work. I have had to do other kinds of writing to a deadline, but not creative writing.

    I don't know. Do I want to find out? Not much. :)
     
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  7. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    External deadlines are one of the factors pushing me towards self-publishing.

    I spent 20-30 years in the corporate world and was fine with deadlines, but that world is something I want to be away from.

    I had lunch with a friend last week -- an established author, much younger than me, with two young children and a wife -- and funnily enough we discussed this very thing. In his position, yes, deadlines. In mine, no way.
     
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  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

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    "Ahhh...I can't work with all this pressure...waaahhhgggg!"
     
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  9. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I hate deadlines—if and only if I'm not positive I know all the factors that go into delivering the product. And that's kind of the point. If I feel sure about my ability, deadlines don't freak me out in the slightest, but if I doubt either myself or the soft/hardware? Then yes, I freak. With 'freak' taking the form of becoming anal about details that may or may not contribute to the solution, which annoys the people around me rather a lot. Most of the time this tick is not helpful.

    I also tend to get single-minded and push all other stuff away, sometimes stuff that other people would classify as important. But if I've got a deadline that I'm committed to? Everything else just doesn't matter. Can be done another day. Just not... now. Because there's the deadline :rolleyes:.

    What can I say that's helpful? Don't beat yourself up over becoming single-minded. I've had lots of arguments with friends/families/co-workers, but a deadline is a deadline, and if I don't know how long I'll take to deliver? Why should I waste time on something else that doesn't need to be done right now and might take time away from finishing a product?
     
  10. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

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    I've never had publishing deadlines... With my short fiction, I tend to write first then find a venue later, so that kind of makes it easier to by pass the deadlines. At this point, I'm leisurely looking for venues. I think if I were actively writing to get publish or to meet a publishing deadline, I dont really know how I'd feel.

    As of now, I have writing deadlines all the time for grad school. I just finished my final research proposal paper. Those deadlines dont really make me nervous or anxious because i have a method: research, outline, analyze, write, edit, submit.

    Fiction is a bit harder. In undergrad, for creative writing assignments, I would draw a blank. I would get so bogged down by writers block that I would get frustrated. But that was because I felt like someone was saying "write a story. make it good. I want it now, your grade depends on it"
     
  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I try to be like @jannert. If I know I have a deadline coming, I try to get ahead of it to avoiding to growing panic of procrastination. That's probably what helps me the most, knowing I'm not starting from ground zero two-days before I'm supposed to hand something over. But I'm not always as on top of things as I would like to be. And I tend to think that if I just had more time, I could make something so much better which isn't always or even often true. I'm not overwhelmed by my deadlines, but I do get nervous if the work I'm handing in is what my publisher is expecting. If I hand it in early, will he think I should have taken more time? If I'm late, will it be worth the wait? Being paid well adds a whole new level of anxiety. Where I am with my writing right now is a dream come true. I feel like I'm just waiting to screw it up even though I've wanted this for as long as I can remember.
     
  12. Harmonices

    Harmonices Senior Member

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    I know that feeling so well. Don't let it grow. Nip it in the bud as soon as you become aware of it.

    Avoid procrastinating as much as possible. Obvious but so important. One trick is to be mindful of those feelings.

    As soon as you notice any aversion or anxiety, turn around and look at it, coolly observe it from a remove for a moment, then use it as reminder to get to work and do so. It's a way of disempowering its effect on you.

    Congratulations on attaining your dream. That's wonderful!

    PS: I doubt any publisher is unhappy with work being submitted ahead of deadline.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  13. Damage718

    Damage718 Member

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    For me, it depends on the project. If I'm writing a newspaper/magazine feature, I'm usually given a deadline right with the assignment, so I need to hop to it pretty quickly. Special projects at work are sometimes more fluid, depending on the scope. Any work I do for my own websites, guest posting, or figuring out what to do with that book I have stuffed in my desk drawer are what I set on myself. Occasionally I'll give myself a deadline to do some work there...other times I'll just sit and think about it and work at a paceless pace when inspiration strikes.
     

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