Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m giving thanks for not reclaiming the sixteen pounds I’ve lost in the last month or so.Â I’d give more thanks, but I’m already out of leftovers, and that bums me out something fierce.Â Seriously, if anybody I had dinner with has some of that sausage stuffing left, I will pay you for it.
And Now… Fake Deadlines!
Let’s face facts… I don’t have some multi-book deal with a major New York publishing house.Â I don’t even have a one book deal with Schlub Publications.Â I’m writing on spec (as in speculation, as in “You might never get paid for all this hard work!Â Ha!”).Â That’s no reason to get lazy, though.Â Writers write.Â Otherwise, they’re just those assholes who sit around and talk about their great idea they’d love to write but they just haven’t found the time but seriously it’s the best story ever and if I ever find the time to write it I’ll make A KAJILLION DOLLARS!
So the answer for me is to write everyday.Â Sometimes, however, I work myself into such a manic state over my writing that I inflict fake deadlines on myself.
For instance, I’m finishing up a project right now.Â 2000 words a day (about ten pages or so) should let me finish it by Friday.Â Even if it doesn’t, though, I have to finish the book (which I’m writing on spec, you see) Friday night.Â That’s the fake deadline I set for myself.Â See, I promised somebody I would get back to them on something “within two weeks.”Â I need the nine days that fake deadline will leave me.Â Sure, I could leave the book for a week and come back to it, but why do that when I could convince myself to just plow on through?
Once I finish that certain something for that certain somebody, I need to knock out some short stories.Â Ten days on those, tops.Â Another fake deadline.
So I can plot and write the first draft of a Young Adult horror novel by the end of January (yet another fake deadline).Â This gives me the two months before World Horror to polish the novel I’m finishing this week (final fake deadline).
But what does all this internal pressure give me besides intestinal problems?Â Â Well, it give me a sense of purpose.Â It might also lead to this conversation come Friday night…
Shawna (Who is kind and understanding and would never really do this): Are you still writing?
Me: Yeah.Â Gotta meet deadline.
Shawna: For what?
Me: For me.Â It’s a deadline I set for myself.
Shawna: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.Â Get your ass out here and spend time with me!Â You shouldn’t be avoiding me on a Friday night.Â We never do anything anymore!
Me: We went out last Friday!Â We saw The Mist, remember?
Shawna: I told you I was going, and you asked to tag along!
Me: But I paid!
Shawna: Damn right, you did!Â So, are you coming out or not?
Me: One hour?
Shawna: Go eat a dick.
And that, my friends, is the world of fake deadlines.