“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

16 May

I haven’t sold a book or even finished one for that matter, so I haven’t had to answer to a publisher. However, I’ve heard many of my own self-implemented deadlines whoosh on by. What I’ve found to be a more effective form of motivation is to make myself accountable to someone else. Have you ever noticed that it’s so easy to break plans with yourself but not with others? For example, I’ll make a goal for myself to sit down in the evenings and write for 30 minutes. When the time comes I’ll tell myself something along these lines, “I’m too tired. After all, it’s been an exceptionally long day. I’ll start earlier tomorrow. Yes, that’s it! I’ll write for 60 minutes tomorrow to make up for not writing tonight.” And so it goes, another day with a zero word count. Now, if I make plans with a friend to meet at a coffee shop and do some writing then it’s a different story. I might consider some excuses but in the end I’m probably going to meet her just like I planned and I’ll actually get some writing done.

While I haven’t been getting much writing done on my book lately, I have been writing in various other forms. What I’ve found is that these tasks still perpetuate my creativity. A few of the things that I’ve been working on are my blog post, a letter for the PTA, and correspondence with some school board members. While none of these things have to do with fictional writing, they still require me to write. Some other things that force me to write are setting dates with my critique group, agreeing to write an article for a newsletter, joining a group blog (it’s too easy to ignore my own), or any other commitment that requires me to get creative.

Are there any commitments you have that force you to utilize your creativity?


Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Idaho


18 responses to ““I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

  1. Judith Keim

    May 16, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Hi, Jennifer…At a conference, I loved hearing a successful writer say that writing every day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sitting behind a computer–you’re writing when you’re driving the kids to school and plotting out a scene, a story. You get energized by thinking about the story you’re working on and can then go home and write down your ideas, a chapter or whatever. That might be a way to kick start your writing. I believe it’s important to write every day even if it’s for just a half-hour. Good luck! I know it’s hard when you have family commitments.

    • Jennifer

      May 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      It’s true that there is more to the “writing process” than just “writing”. That’s a good point to remember. Thanks Judy.

  2. stephanieberget

    May 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    When I make a self-imposed deadline, myself falls over laughing. I’ve broken so many goals I’ve set with myself, you’d think I’d quit, but no.
    Judy is right. Writing can be plotting or thinking about your characters when you’re doing other things.
    Hang in there.

    • Jennifer

      May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      lol! At least you never give up on yourself Steph. And it’s paid off too:)

  3. marsharwest

    May 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I think goals are important, and I agree having someone else keeps you honest. I have sold my first book (Yea! Happy Dance inserted here.) When I started working with my content editor (an absolute jewel!) she didn’t give me a deadline. I gave myself one and told her. I got the stuff in one day before. I’d have dawdled without that date in the email. And to be honest that was only the first exchange. We went back and fourth 4 more times. LOL
    I have to have a deadline. Or I don’t get anything done–even if I miss the deadline, I’m closer to getting the job done.
    Hmm. I need to set a deadline for sending out that second book. I’ve been putting that off. Not sure why. Okay. I’m telling y’all. I’ll send out Truth Be told May 27, Memorial Day. 🙂
    I also agree as long as you’re writing something, that keeps the creative juices flowing. Blogs take a lot of creativity and time. Today at Thoughts on Thursday I try to connect, vines, solar lights, and changing habits. See if I did.

    Last thing. I promise. Jennifer, thanks for doing the PTA work. Your principal loves you, and the school and kids are better for your efforts.

  4. Jennifer

    May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Thanks Marsha. I love that you made a deadline for yourself even when your editor didn’t. You’ll have to let us know when we can get our hands on that book (or our Kindle). I’d love to read it!

    • marsharwest

      May 16, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      I’ll for certain let y’all know. 🙂

  5. maryvine

    May 16, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    And, I believe, working with the PTA is something to put on your resume if you intend to return to work one day. Yes, being accountable is what it’s all about with us humans. I never miss a day at work unless I’m really sick, etc. Do I ever miss a day of writing? See what I mean? NEW 100 gets me going and also being out of school for the summer, if I go to the Oregon property. I remember at one time I wrote weekdays, one hour a day, and then had the weekend free. I did that for some time then I moved and never got back into it. It’s something to think seriously about-whether you’d be able to crank the books out for the publisher, or not. I know I can’t. I’ll keep my every other year pace.

    • marsharwest

      May 16, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Mary, I think the pace is like everything else is writing. We have to find what works for us. Glad you’ve found your system. 🙂

    • Jennifer

      May 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      That’s a great point Mary – I think it would be very stressful to have to crank out books for a publisher. I still hope to do it someday though :). I’m really looking forward to the NEW 100 in June!

  6. Janis McCurry

    May 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    So that’s what that sound was. 🙂 I do a lot of non-writing thinking in my head before I put fingers to the keyboard, but I still try to set deadlines. I kind of like that whooshing sound, I guess.

  7. Jennifer

    May 16, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I’m getting far too familiar with that sound but I keep setting deadlines anyway. Each time I hope this will be the time that I stick to it.

  8. kristin

    May 16, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    I like deadlines. I like lists. But some things stay on my list a LONG time. I do a family blog….but even then I blog in my head more than I actually write! 🙂

  9. Jennifer

    May 16, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    I like lists too. They don’t seem to make me any more productive but I like them.

  10. Lynn Mapp

    May 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Jennifer, I exercise in the morning, before work. At the end of the day, I brain is a blob. My writing partner and I meet on Saturday morning and we write. That’s the only way we are able to get any writing done.

    • Jennifer

      May 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      Yep, I think that may be the only way for me too Lynn.

  11. Corina Mallory

    May 17, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Writing for the blog and long chatty letters and emails are good creative outlets for me even when the writing I *want* to be doing isn’t happening for one reason or another. Deadlines? Never set one for myself that I couldn’t ignore with barely a twinge.

  12. Jennifer

    May 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    At least it doesn’t bother you. I’m annoyed with myself when I don’t follow through with my own plans.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: