Sep 23, 2010
Self-Imposed Deadlines Are Real Deadlines
I work from a home office with a large whiteboard. I put all my deadlines for the next three months on this board, with little boxes to check them off when I finish each item. I put my classes for graduate school up there, and also my writing projects.
I was speaking with a friend on the phone the other day and stressing a little because I was behind on one of my writing goals, which meant that the due date for another writing goal would be pushed up to coincide with a school goal. I didn't want that to happen, so I dedicated a few nights to stay up until three or four in the morning to put in the extra work to meet the deadline. I still have to get up in the night to nurse, and then rise early to send the hubby and toddlers off to work/preschool, so that meant I didn't get much sleep.
This had consequences. I was tired and grumpy, which annoyed my friend.
"You keep talking about writing deadlines, but you don't have any real deadlines," she said. "So why would you do that to yourself?"
Right. I can't have real writing deadlines because writing isn't real work.
No, no, she said. "But you can do it whenever you want and it doesn't matter if you really do it right away or not."
Look, I understand her point. One reason I want to be a writer is exactly so I can write whenever I want -- but this means imposing my own deadlines, not escaping them.
The distinction may be fine, but it's important.
It was especially frustrating because around the same time, a relative chided me for not being "focused" enough, and I should "get a real job." You know, because being a stay-at-home mom with a three month old infant AND going to school AND publishing a book -- not one of those counts as a "real" job.
I don't say this often, but... screw you. I work damn hard. At real work. With real deadlines. And maybe the world doesn't particularly value mothering, academic research or writing fiction, but that doesn't mean the things I do have no value.
Ok, on a more positive note, I was tagged with a Prolific Blogger award by Jai at Jai Joshi's Tulsi Tree, and now I have to figure out who among the many awesome blogs I read am going to tag myself. I have to admit, I always worry a bit when I get one of these awards, because of the chain-letter/ponzi scheme pyramid structure of the meme. But I also feel really happy that someone thought of me, and no money or cursing is involved ;) so I will pass it on. But first I have to think about who to choose! Argh! There are so many good blogs.... I'm thinking I might tag some of the blogs where I read but never comment, because I feel bad I never comment. Check here later for updates.