April 4, 2013 by KWills
(insert obligatory Douglas Adams quote here)
“This year, next year, sometime, never.” There’s an art to setting deadlines. Too close and the panic can strangle any creativity, too far and the urgency is lost. The same is true of associated rewards and penalties – they mustn’t be too large or too small. It takes a fair amount of trial and error to find your own level.
I find it most effective to set mini-deadlines for each stage of a big project. If I’m tired, or having trouble getting into a project (like this week, for example) then I break it down further and give myself a specific task for the next half hour, or even fifteen minutes. During NaNoWriMo, last November, my most productive days were spent writing for no more than ten minutes at a time. Ten minutes writing, five minutes break, repeated for an hour, every other hour, throughout the day. I wrote over 7,000 words in a single day using this method. If I sit down in the morning and tell myself to write 6,000 words before night, I freeze up. The task seems too big, and the deadline too far off. Three hundred words in ten minutes, on the other hand, is perfectly possible. They will not be well-crafted words, but they will be written. Editing is a job for another day – tomorrow, in fact.
See you on the E-side.