Thursday, April 11, 2013

Write Away with Jeannie Watt

I love deadlines—especially those imposed by other people, such as my editor. Deadlines help me accomplish so much more than I normally would meandering along on my own time schedule.

When I set my contract deadline after selling a book, I carefully calculate enough time to write the first draft and then I add an extra two weeks for revisions. Invariably I encounter some problem that has me burning the midnight oil to get the book done on time and I usually don’t have two weeks to revise. This is because (invariably) I encounter rough spots that sometimes take days to iron out. But, if I didn't have that deadline staring me in the face, I’m pretty certain it would take me weeks to deal with the difficulties rather than days. Deadlines force me to put my hands on the keyboard and deal with the issue. Now. I may not get it right immediately, but I make headway and discover new things about the story. And desperation does amazing things to creativity. Ideas I hadn’t even considered appear out of nowhere, and oftentimes they work. Hurray for deadlines!

I've also used the desperation deadline approach in my non-writing life. When my daughter, who lives in another city, decided to bring her boyfriend home to meet us, my husband and I decided to do some interior renovations before the visit. This ensured that we would actually finish the nine or ten projects we started simultaneously. We had to get everything done BtBA--Before the Boyfriend Arrives. And we did. Hurray for deadlines. We burned some midnight oil there, too.

I use unofficial deadlines all the time. I’m going to lose four pounds before the last day of school. I’m going to clean one room every evening for a week. I’m going to sort one drawer a day until they’re all done. This ploy works, for a while, but there’s nothing like a desperation deadline to really get things done.

How about you? Do you need deadlines? Or avoid them at all costs?

Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt is currently working on deadline. She lives in rural Nevada and writes fast-paced, character driven stories set in the western United States.   To find out more about Jeannie and her books, please visit her website

1 comment:

  1. Jennie, I think I might even be a bit crazier than you. I set my own deadline miles in front of the real one. Working as a nurse I've long since realised that life very often intervenes.
    When I started my first job as a shorthand typist years ago I worked out what bus I needed to catch to get to work on time. Then, I took the one two in front of that. One day my boss asked why I got to work so early. I explained I didn't 't want to be late. If I missed the bus I was going for, the next two would still get me to work on time. If I'd missed my original bus then I would end up late for work. Unthinkable.
    He told me to keep planning like that and I have. I was 17 then.