I'm thankful that my fellow potato bloggers are lenient about our individual deadlines. Mine was yesterday, but as I was driving 8 hours back home from North Carolina, I realized I wouldn't make this one.
Deadlines are good things, though. They help discipline me in my hectic life as author, SCBWI regional advisor, teacher, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, etc. Like David, I try to be scrupulous about keeping my deadlines and feel guilty when I don't. Deadlines give me a feeling of accomplishment when I'm successful and are a strict taskmaster when I'm procrastinating. They force me into putting words on paper when I'm struggling through a writer's block, and they give me an excuse to say "no"--something I don't do easily.
Sometimes I wonder how I managed to keep the deadlines every three weeks throughout my MFA program at Spalding University when I was also working full-time as director of admissions in a busy community college. When my editor said, "take as long as you need" to work on my revision, I asked her to give me a deadline. I needed a specific date to work toward. And now that I don't have another full-time "day" job, other than my writing, I find it harder to set aside writing time than I did when I was too busy.
In my search for deadlines, I'm going back to school for an enrichment semester at Spalding University to study film adaptation. I'm excited to be a student again and to enter this new field as a writer. I'm also excited to have deadlines and excuses to say, "no." Yes, I'll be busier than ever, but I'll also accomplish more.