Motivational Deadline Setting

So here’s the thing. Full-time work takes time. Add a forty-minute commute- give or take ten minutes with possible train delays- and that takes even more time. When that work consists of writing and researching for articles all day, I don’t want to spend the little free time doing even more typing. And so I read or catch up on television or check Twitter without actually tweeting anything.

Now that I think about it, the fact that I sometimes struggle to come up with 140 interesting characters is a little sad.

The truth of the matter is that I am a rather lazy person when it comes to doing things that don’t have a hard deadline. For some reason, much of my best work tends to come a few days beyond what would be the comfort level for turning in said work- the pressure makes me focus. Nebulous deadlines- or no deadlines at all- are a virtual guarantee that I will never, ever do whatever work is hanging over my head.

If I want to write and get better at writing, whether it’s fiction or this blog, I have to set my own deadlines. Otherwise I’ll continue to work in fits and starts and have long stretches of inactivity. I’ve been falling into the habit of half-heartedly sketching out what I want to do, without actually doing it. It’s a weird way of tricking myself into thinking I’m being productive and it has to end. I’ve seen some authors give brief updates of the state of their works-in-progress, and I’m hoping that doing that in public will give me some incentive to actually finish the things I’m working on.

So here are the deadlines/goals.

A blog post every two weeks. I fully anticipate that this will be the hardest. My goal is to have a draft completed by the end of the first week, post revised and published by the end of the second. I’m anticipating an essay on NBC’s Hannibal first, followed by some long-overdue book reviews.

Finish two incomplete short stories by April 15. One is about a remote town where one resident is turning everyone into soulless shells by means unknown; the other is about a cat. I do not anticipate these going anywhere after I finish them.  I simply want to file them away without feeling guilty about them being half-finished. Maybe I can throw them up here if there’s interest. Whatever I decide to do with them, I have to finish them first.

Complete the rough draft of my Godfather-with-vampires story by September 31. I also anticipate this one being difficult, if only because of graduation in June, job-seeking-and-hopefully-obtaining before that, and any inconveniences that may come after. Regardless, I have a bit of a jumpstart on this one (about 40k words), so I’m hoping I can do this and see if the story is something I want to expand on.

Hopefully this will both increase my posting and make me more productive. If not, Plan B will probably involve magical writing quills, Plan C some moonlight sacrifices, and Plan D, rum.

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6 thoughts on “Motivational Deadline Setting

  1. Is this a proper, paid job you’re doing or one of those internships whereby a company benefits from free labour…?

    Good luck with the time juggling and I reckon you should post the short stories on here, assuming they’re not too long to fit.

    • Sadly this is a job that is an internship required for my degree. So it is labor that my parents are technically paying for and it bugs me no end. However, there’s very little to be done about it at this point, and there’s no point in ranting about it any more than I have offline.

      Thank you! It’ll depend on how long they end up being and whether I like them enough, but here’s hoping they turn out decently.

  2. ‘I’ve been falling into the habit of half-heartedly sketching out what I want to do, without actually doing it. It’s a weird way of tricking myself into thinking I’m being productive and it has to end.’ – Story of my life, arrrrggg.

    Nice to hear from you again, and I would definitely be interested in reading your short stories. 🙂

    • You too, huh? The joys of being a college student! I have to catch up on people’s blog posts and I recently did a massive inbox purge, so hopefully I’ll be a bit more organized about catching up on blogs, including yours 🙂 Things have been getting out of hand in terms of time management lately, and I’m trying to fix that.

  3. Oh gosh, the only reason I manage to blog on a regular basis is because I set strict goals for myself. It’s so easy to just fall into everything else that needs doing. The actual fiction writing though? That’s definitely become a more sporadic thing.

    • Hopefully some of your resolution will rub off on me. I write so much for this current internship of mine that when I get some free time, I’d rather spend it on books or Netflix or outlining- not actually putting prose together. Which is a habit I’m just going to have to break, but I do not anticipate it being pretty.

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