Lemmings and Deadlines

Lemming image from British Public Library
A brilliant collection of free photos drawn
from their archives of historical literature.

I'm a third-generation writer/journalist and I believe in deadlines. If somebody doesn't hand me a contract with a deadline, I'll create a deadline for myself.

For me, a deadline inspires creation (as well as terror, binge eating, and whimpering). Right now I'm staring at a moving deadline. Publisher wants the book three months in advance of the original deadline. This has created a lot of whimpering as well as emails to my friends and relatives to not expect to see me much around Christmas.  I'll be banging out the finish of a manuscript so I can still have a month to polish prior to deadline.

Although I often dream of jobs done well ahead of the deadline, I'm used to dancing up to the very edge of my deadline. Famously, I once ripped open an express mail box at the Post Office, made three red pen corrections to a final draft, and then resealed the box to the bemusement of the counter staff. Luckily, with electronic submissions now the norm, I no longer change my mind in public at the last possible minute. What I do at home in my bunny slippers....well, that's between me and the computer.

Still, I love deadlines. Deadlines cause all the brain cells to sit up and gibber at the approaching behemoth and then take lemming leaps off the cliff of the ordinary into brilliance. Or die. That's why it's called a deadline.



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