Deadlines are important. Especially for anything as innately self-driven as writing. Deadlines, even ones that you create yourself, give your project/goal concrete definitions. It makes that shit real.
Works for things other than writing, too. For example, I’m looking to improve my currently smoker-level cardio, so I’ve decided to start training for a 5 k. And I want to be able to run 5 k by the time my birthday comes around (August). It’s a very reasonable goal, one that I can accomplish well within the time limit. But having that end date in mind is important. Otherwise I’d probably sit around thinking, “Man, I’d like to improve my cardio so I don’t drop a lung the next time I’m running from zombies”. And then doing nothing about it. But a goal means a plan, and a plan drastically improves the chances of success. Especially during a zombie apocalypse.
It also keeps things from becoming obsessive. The editing project I have going right now, I’m putting a deadline on it. There comes a point where I have to say ‘good enough’ and walk away. Otherwise I’ll do nothing but polish it over and over again until it lives up to some impossible ideal Story in my head, like one of Plato’s Forms. And that’ll never happen. I’ll just go insane.
So, to avoid the coming (or possibly continuing) insanity, I’m setting a deadline: one more week. Whatever is done by then is all that’s getting done, and I’m moving on. That’s the deadline. You all heard me.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see what I can cram into that week. Because, you know, I’m on a fucking deadline here.