Today is the day that I am contracted to turn my finished illustrations, updated manuscript, and bibliography to my publishers. And I will. Just as soon as I finish that last illustration. Which I am painting on my last piece of water color paper. And I’m almost out of brown paint. Did I mention it’s a holiday and art stores are probably not open today? And then there’s that bibliography…
Yet here I am, writing a blog post. Why? I like to think that it’s to add even more pressure.
I always thought that I was the free spirited artist that took my time, did things my own way, and wasn’t motivated by other people’s agendas. Deadlines don’t make me plan ahead and start early so that I can pace myself efficiently through a creative process. But deadlines do something much better for me.
Deadlines make me procrastinate until just the point where I have enough time to complete everything. And I do, I get it done. But the really magical part isn’t just that I get it done. It’s that I don’t leave any time for that inner critic to come and admonish me, make me start over or give up completely. When crunch time comes, the critic goes.
So if you are considering making any New Year’s resolutions this year, make them with deadlines built in. Even if you are not a “deadline” kind of person. Instead of “I will write more this year,” try “I will write my rough draft by May 1” or “I will submit to 3 agents by February 28.” Then take your deadlines seriously. The night before your deadline, find yourself cleaning your entire house to put off your goal. But in the morning, pour yourself a big cup of coffee, lock your inner critic in the cabinet and crank your work out, because you have to get it done.
Happy 2015, and may you meet all of your deadlines!