The difference between a dream and a goal is a deadlineGina Raimondo
Do our dreams move forward more easily when they have deadlines attached? I have been thinking about this a lot lately. One of the interesting aspects of my writing life has been my tendency to procrastinate which was not something I did when I worked full time. Although deadlines in my past life were at times stressful, the urgency with which they propelled me forward and kept me focused on meeting goals and task completion wasn’t something I ever thought much about.
The past couple of years have been remarkably deadline free but I have noticed when I am in a situation where deadlines are in play, I am considerably more productive. I just finished a flash fiction writing course that was likely one of the best I have ever participated in. In a week I produced six stories that with edits and time will likely be pieces that I will submit somewhere for publication.
Having to post a story each day was the impetus to move my writing craft forward in a way that I previously thought was missing. And I think it is all about the deadline. An externally imposed deadline. Being accountable to people in the course and the instructor by having to create new material in a short window of time was beyond motivational.
Although I had moments of doubt when words wouldn’t come or ideas didn’t gel, writing to deadline seemed to fuel my creativity. It would have been such a struggle to fall behind or to give up and miss the opportunity to receive feedback on my pieces and to lose the connection that was formed in the writing community that developed during the week.
When every member is working towards similar goals, there is a sense of collective support and camaraderie that develops quickly. And everyone is faced with the same deadline urgency so being productive and taking risks to share your fresh and raw work seems to heighten the process. Being able to comment, share and receive feedback on the work of group members also plays into the generation of creative energy.
Deadlines often have a negative connotation but I realize that they have an important place in a creative life. And if taken seriously they can elevate a writer’s work to new levels. It seems that externally imposed deadlines might actually drive dreams and take you to the place you truly wish to be.
Stay healthy and safe!