Wednesday, December 5, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our weekly blog series about all sorts of writing, reading and being obsessed with words.

Updates: Our Spread the WORD! contest is neck-and-neck right now, with still half a day before the midnight deadline. NECK AND NECK! And we've also just about tripled our e-list. Oustanding job, everyone.

Also: after trying the online-format with this past week, I think Innovative will be moving to a mostly online form. The weekly emails will still happen, but they will just list the different sections and their topics to tease your love of Innovative.

And as always, welcome to our new WriTeens and WriTeen supporters! If you have a question, my email address is in the profile or you can use the comment section below.

The Belief in the Impossible Deadline

I promised an optimistic, fun, happy, delightful topic today, and so I'm going to talk about... impossible deadlines!

I love impossible deadlines. I've set the date of January 21st, 2008 to complete my young adult novel and there's no way it will be done... but the very impossibility of it drives me to succeed. Chris Baty talks about impossible deadlines in his book, No Plot? No Problem! and in the phenomenon of National Novel Writing Month. Nobody can write a 50,000-word draft in 30 days. Nobody. Of course, thousands of people do it every year. There's no way that Andy Sachs will get the Harry Potter books to Miranda's evil twins on time (and save her job) in The Devil Wears Prada. No way. Of course, she does.

How does this apply to writing?

Contests have deadlines. Themed magazines have deadlines. Editors set deadlines for solicited articles (and boy, do they love these impossible deadlines.) You need a deadline to write, whether you're writing a 200-word flash fiction snippet or a 3,000-word essay on your love of Nana's apple pies. Even if you have absolutely nowhere to send the short story you're writing (... not a great idea...), you should still enforce a deadline if you want to finish it.

I don't have a doctorate in psychology, but it seems that deadlines work. If your mother tells you to cook dinner before six pm or the XBox will be dead to you, then dinner is usually cooked. Teachers, coaches, directors all use deadlines and more often than not, they are impossible ones. You need to use these in writing.

The impossibility will make it more exciting. Set yourself impossible deadlines. You don't want the quality of your writing to suffer, of course, but who cares about the quality if there is never a finished product? Buy yourself a planner or a calendar, sit under an inspirational tree with your laptop, and meet those impossible deadlines.

1 comment:

Katie Beth said...

You said it! Deadlines are the bane of my existence, but I sure wouldn't get anything done without them. I also loved The Devil Wears Prada, movie version. I haven't read the book.