I have had a flurry of writing deadlines in recent days and my words have been like a steam train, whistling merrily as they hurtle across the page.
Little is more motivating than an unmovable delivery date!
It’s strange because, during quiet periods, when I have whole days to write, nothing to get in the way, nothing on my mind, I often find it most challenging to be productive.
I used to have the same problem when approaching school work, years ago, until my dad taught me about Parkinson’s Law and how ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’
That’s why deadlines can be so effective. With limited time available, the task cannot be put off. Efforts must be concentrated. The writing must be done.
I find it easier to meet other people’s deadlines. The fear of letting them down keeps me on track. Personal projects are as important as external ones but it’s easy to let personal desires slide in order to meet commitments to others.
So, I now set mini, personal deadlines. I make sure they’re realistically achievable and give them the importance of work goals.
Personal goals matter. They are just as real.
To help, during really busy spells, I book time in my diary to write and give it the importance of a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. I wouldn’t miss one of those so why would I miss a commitment to myself? For fun, if I’m working on a piece of fiction, I’ll book the ‘meeting’ in with my protagonist. When it feels like I have an appointment with a real person, I can’t be a no show.
There is a reason we must write. We were born to do it. We have a story inside that we’re burning to share, a story that will brighten or enlighten the life of another. It matters.
So, step aboard. Load up on fuel. Writing trains particularly like tea, coffee and cake. Set your destination, decide which stations you’ll stop at and then roll out the station.
Let your words whistle across the page. You are on your way!