“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
So said Douglas Adams, and so say many people. Deadlines, however, can be a great incentive to actually getting things done. In college, everyone procrastinates their paper until the night before it’s due, but it gets done one way or another. Without that deadline, it would never get done.
When it comes to writing, however, a lot of us don’t have deadlines. The desire to write a novel is cancelled out by the effort it would take to actually accomplish this goal, and so we keep saying we want to and years pass and no novel gets written. I said in high school that I wanted to write the “next great American novel” but of course, that never came to pass back then. Why? Because I had no reason to write it, no deadline pressing in on me.
Luckily, there are programs like NaNoWriMo, or currently, Camp NaNo, to help us put deadlines on things. Deadlines are great for anything in life, really, anything that you need to get done. Why do deadlines work? Well, usually there’s a consequence if you don’t meet them. Give yourself those consequences such as taking away something you like if you don’t. Having self-discipline is an important part of being a writer, and it’s not always easy for everyone to do it.
Even for short-term goals, using deadlines can help. I particularly like writeordie.com for that. It forces you to write or else there are consequences! Useful and to the point.
In the end, it’s all up to you to determine the best way for you to work and actually write those novels you talk about. Use deadlines or something else, but do what works for you and don’t procrastinate!