Ditch Deadlines


    If you have to set yourself a deadline to get a project done, then you're doing it wrong!

    Writing is not an on-demand task.
        Writing should never be a because-I-need-to-get-it-done task.
            Writing should never be a because-someone-else-demands-it task.

    Why? Because these reasons LEAD TO BAD WRITING!

    I'm not saying that if you don't use these reasons to write that you'll become Shakespeare, Dickens, and Tolkien all rolled into one. What I am saying is that the essence of good writing comes from the need to tell your story, not the need to reach a deadline.

    A deadline is sometimes required, but I could never write to one. Why? Because I am too lazy to write to a deadline. A deadline means that I must set aside play, something that I'd rather be doing, and go sit at a keyboard all alone and write. This is a negative action, which will engender a negative feeling inside me, and my negativity will certainly show in my writing. Deadlines make writing work, and I have managed to write multiple novels without doing any work - why would I want to work now? I would rather play.

    Mark Twain said "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

    So, how do we convert writing from 'work' into 'play'?
    (Here's a hint: Deadlines make play into work!)

    What is your goal? "To write a story"? If that sounds like work, then you're in the wrong profession. But that definition is too simple - you want more than just a story.

    Let's improve on our goal:

    "To write a good story."
    "To write a great story."
    "To write a story that impresses me."
    "To write a story that touches people's emotions."
    "To write a story that my readers will never forget."
    "To write a story that feels like it is part of my soul, ripped out of my chest, and bled into a pool of deep meaning that I could never get tired of swimming in."

    Now you're getting there!

    You have an idea - now get into the details. Who are your characters? How do they think? What is your setting? What could make it better? Your characters are struggling against overwhelming odds; what could make your plot more thrilling? What could make your readers want to be in your story? What would make you want to be in your story?

    Think ... and don't stop thinking until your thoughts excite you. Once you get excited by the answers to these questions, then you are ready to write.

    When you are excited by your own story idea, that is when you should start writing. That is when writing becomes play, not work, and you barely notice the effort. How could you? You are swept up in the excitement! Writing isn't work any more.

    And, rather than the negativity of a deadline, sure to seep into your story like mired anchor hooks, dragging it down, your excitement steals into your readers minds and sweeps them away, off to adventure, eager to turn each page.

    That is how this lazy man (like me!) writes so much.

    You can, too. Just get excited about the countless details of your story before you start writing it ... and you will write exciting stories.

    We have all read books where, at some point, we feel that the author is just trying to finish the story as quickly as possible. Usually, this is the part of the story where the worst writing occurs. The key to keeping the excitement fresh is to stay in each moment - your characters might know what has happened to them, but they don't know that their story is about to end ... or get worse!

    Add fresh ideas. Build excitement into every scene. Drama may cease, and tension smooth out, but the thing that keeps readers turning pages is their excitement to find out what will happen to your characters next.

    Excited writers make excited readers.
        Find the excitement in your story.
            Then write it.


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