Dastardly Deadlines

 Manuscript Targets

One of the toughest things for me to deal with is self-motivation and deadlines. Even when I’m dealing with a fantastically set-in-stone deadline like NaNoWriMo (finish (win!) by November 30, or I wear my failure on my profile for an entire year) I procrastinate. I’m not good at Butt In Chair mechanics.

So when a good friend I’m beta-reading for threatened to withhold further story until I promised to actually finish a novel and get it transcribed, I had a choice. I could roll my eyes and say “whatever”, and thus deny myself tasty, free fiction. I could fake it and lie to her and get it anyway. Or I could use this as actual motivation to keep myself moving forward, and really grow as a writer.

The first wasn’t even a consideration. I like her story, and to give up on it now would crush me. Plus, I’d have to wait potentially years for it to come out, as she wants to traditionally publish it, and waiting for that long would suck.

The second option was tempting, but let’s be honest: what would be the point of lying? It would be like cheating at solitaire.

So. I set up a schedule. A deadline. And actually decided to do this thing.

March 25th, 2013. An estimated 80,000 words of handwritten fiction. If I can get past my own chicken scratch, I will have something I have not had in years:  A completed first draft of a novel which, in my humble opinion, is good enough to seek publication.

So, I’ve set up a spreadsheet with which to track my progress. I’ve been terrible the last couple of weeks, but with some dedication, I can still make my deadline.

Man, how I hate deadlines. But they work.

I love handwriting my novels; it makes it easier to be distraction free, and I can do it literally anywhere, regardless of the presence of wireless networks, chargers, or power sources. Heck, as long as I have light, I don’t need no stinkin’ power! It just means that I have to transcribe it, and that takes time — time away from my fun pursuits like Bejeweled Blitz and reading Facebook memes. But now I’m developing some actual discipline to get this stuff out of its spidery handwritten journal to a real, editable, Scrivener-based computer document. And though I still have a long way to go, it feels good.

So here I go, off to defeat a deadline. Think I can make it? What deadlines have you set for yourself?

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