Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Motivating the Misfit

OK, own up.  Who likes a deadline?

Are you one of those people who quake in their boots if they know they have to deliver on a certain date or do you love the thrill and adrenalin rush of pushing it to the limit?

I LOVE a deadline and personally there's no quaking but lots of dancing about in my little boots (new, if I might add - suede, ankle, wedge and trendy) if I know I'm up against it.

As an Indie I have no one telling me when, where or why.  If  I choose to sit back and pick my nose for a year, I can.  But I don't.  I actually give self-imposed deadlines and, let me tell you, I get pretty cranky with myself if I don't deliver - which rarely happens.

You see, I'm a hard task-master and I think to make a go of it as an Indie writer, you have to be.  There's no point in talking about being a writer, you have to do it and that means many hours of blood, sweat and tears.  And hissy fits, in my case - but that's just the way I roll, they're not compulsory.

So for me to get from Chapter One to The End, I have to give myself a finish date and a reward at the end of it - usually something as simple as a dinner with friends - but something  to work towards.  I relish the buzz of forcing myself onwards and upwards, pushing to the point where I can say, 'YES! The first draft is complete'.

Of course that doesn't mean that it's all over - oh no, far from it.  That's when all the really hard work begins but at least I can say, as I pat myself on the head, 'You go girl, you did it!'

Then come the next set of deadlines - rewrtites, edits, corrections, editing with hubbie, (grrrr!), divorce proceedings, marriage guidance, first read off to friend, more edits and corrections.  On it goes until the big release day and then it starts all over again with a time frame for the next book.

Yes, without a deadline, I'd be sunk.  In fact, I reckon I'd be a publisher's dream (bit of blowing my own trumpet there, but if I don't no one else will!)

Book Six (now entitled 'Lottie's Luck') is over half way there and I've given myself until March 16th to bash out that first draft - I've even got a Twitter lunch and dinner with friends booked as an incentive.  Yes it's possible to dangle your own carrot!

There will be no umming, aahing or procrastination - it WILL be done.  Because I'm the boss and what I say goes.

So watch this space, as 'Lottie's Luck' will hit the shelves at the end of June - and if by some chance it  doesn't, I'll be taking myself into my office for a jolly good talking to.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have a word target to meet ...


  1. Agree with this. I need a deadline or nothing gets done. That's why I blog every Sat - I HAVE to make myself produce something. Like, you, if I didn't set deadlines, I'd do nothing but procrastinate. Actually, I do that too - like at the moment, when I'm actually supposed to be editing the WIP. But hey. As George Orwell said, make rules, but feel free to break any of them.

  2. I enjoyed this, Amanda. Self-motivation is very hard to do and you seem to have it taped. The threat of being carpeted by yourself is genuine enough; I fear myself far more than I ever did a boss, because I know just how to twist the knife for maximum damage. I laughed about the husband dimension; been there! This is my first visit and it won't be my last. Thank you. :)

  3. I love deadlines too nowadays they are just for my blog as I am severely disabled by MS but in the days of my PHd first drafts of chapters were great for deadline lovers! Now I cling to sayings like Orwell's. When I do meet my self-imposed deadlines coffee and cake/chocolate are my chosen reward!

  4. I'm exactly the same as you, Amanda. I HAVE to have a deadline, self-imposed or not, it just has to be there. It's too easy to think 'oh, this doesn't have to be done today, I'll go and do something else instead' otherwise. I like a little reward incentive too, never anything big, usually a few days off from writing or editing is the reward at the end of it for me!

  5. So, setting deadlines may be the way forward for me then. No, it's not just for the promise of a reward at the end *fingers crossed behind back*. When I think about it, I need lists to keep on top of my housework etc, otherwise I wouldn't get any of that done. Maybe using your strategy, I may be able to finish book one. Very inspirational - and thank you for sharing : )

  6. I don't give myself a deadline as such but do try really hard to 'get it done'. I have too much going on in my "real" job and that has to take priority. I think I'd be a publisher's nightmare!

  7. I can only work well to a deadline (not one issued by me but an external one) so I'm not the ideal type of person to be working from home (in fact I should be writing now rather than visiting blogs but hey! It'll get done later!)