Deadlines Are Your Friends

I’ve never particularly liked deadlines but they do seem to boost productivity. For example, I had from February 8th until March 8th to write approximately 2000 words for my writers’ group. After a couple of weeks, I came up with an idea for a story. I wrote about eight hundred words of the story. Then I let it sit until two nights before the deadline.

It sounds like I was just procrastinating and I’ll admit that there was a component of procrastination at work but there was also something else. I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell a story that I was beginning to suspect was more of a novella than a short story. It took the pressure of an impending deadline to trigger that last little bit of imagination that helped me to reimagine it as a short story.

A short story has less room to develop complex ideas. It is more like a sketch than a complete drawing. It takes advantage of stereotypes and other means of suggesting more detail than is actually there. And the point is often some sort of twist that is clever but doesn’t result in any major change on the part of the protagonist.

So, two nights before the deadline, I finally figured out my twist. I wrote five hundred words that night and the rest the next. The story isn’t polished yet. That is the point of the writer’s group. I am looking for help to tease the most out of the story. But I did end up with a credible first draft and I credit the deadline with helping me to pull this juicy piece of bacon out of the fire.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.