Yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with my agent. We do this often to gauge where I am in my career, plan for the future, and talk about life in general (because she’s not only my agent, she’s my friend and I think she’s pretty fantabulous).
At one point in the phone call I said, “Give me a deadline.”
We set two. One for when the proposal and sample chapters will be done (because that’s what she’ll send to a publisher). Another for the day the book is done. Finished. Polished and shiny.
May 25 and November 16.
I felt relieved, having those dates set and scribbled on my planner. They are concrete. Written in purple pen (so you KNOW that means business).
See, I’m a person who NEEDS a deadline. Why?
1. Because I’m apt to goof off otherwise: If I don’t have a countdown to when I need to be done, I can justify all kinds of tomfoolery. Catch up on Mad Men (they just put another season on Netflix). Go on Buzzfeed to find out which Disney Princess I am (Belle…always, always, always Belle). Go over to Goodreads to see how many people marked A Cup of Dust as “Want to Read” (can you pretty please go do that??? Plug, plug). Yada, yada, on and on. A deadline is the mother who stands over the kid working on homework saying, “You can’t play ’til you finish you math…”.
2. It’s a challenge: Now, I’m not the kind of person to climb a mountain just to see if I can. Nuh-uh. I get dizzy sitting in the stands of a basketball game…a high school basketball game. In a very small town with 4 rows of bleachers. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Challenge. Although I’m not one for physical challenges, I do like intellectual ones. Having a date by which I need to finish a novel (and have it be good enough for consumption) is a challenge. A game.
3. I need a keeper: Now, if I set a deadline myself, I’m likely to break it. I’ll ignore the date, pretend I never thought of setting it until I can turn the page on another month. However, if my agent or a publisher sets the date, whoa doggie, I’m going to work my tuchas off. The accountability spurs me on.
So, now that I have deadlines, I’d better get back to work. No more goofing off for me (well, less, at least).
How about you? Are you someone who thrives on a deadline?