Deadlines and Flying and Writing

writing deadlines - Pyragraph

Photo by Paul Mayer.

I don’t need time, I need a deadline. —Duke Ellington

With a deadline on the immediate horizon, your writing space can grow wheels and wings and morph into a moving vehicle. That is when I think of my writing space as aircraft, specifically a small prop plane.

What do I know about flying, but from having read the many journals of Anne Morrow Lindberg and Beryl Markham’s memoir, West with the Night? Well I know that when the going’s good, we fly as readers and we fly as writers.

Don’t have a deadline? Set your own.

We’re talking about taking off and we’re talking about coming in for a landing. It is both, and you are the pilot, mechanic, air traffic controller.

With a deadline ahead, it becomes very clear which piece you are working on. Honor it. All your other ideas, all your other writing projects—everything else you wanted to finish, polish and send off—are buckled into their seats now or stored in baggage. They will just have to wait.

This plane has a singular purpose at the moment, and everything looks clear. You are being consciously present. You are single tasking.

Don’t have a deadline? Set your own. Start a blog. The more regularly one posts, the greater the chance for success.

In the end, nothing works like a deadline. First, it means that something is real and you are on your way. Second, it means you must get out of your own way if you are ever going to see it off.

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About Kimberly Mayer

Kimberly Mayer received a B.A. from Emerson College, Boston, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her memoir, The Making of a Master Gardener, was awarded first place in the Pacific Northwest Writing Association Literary Contest. She recently completed her first novel, Black Angels, and is currently at work on a sequel. A Master Gardener of twelve years, Kimberly gardens, writes, revises, and runs a writing workshop on San Juan Island, Washington. Her work has been published on This I Believe (National Public Radio), and in the Pitkin Review and Minerva Rising literary journals.

1 Comment

  1. Heather with WELLFITandFED on June 22, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I had been working on a small book for half a year and it wasn’t until I made a hard deadline that I knocked it out in a matter of weeks. This is so so true!

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