Do You Need a Deadline to Write? I do.
November 2, 2012
I like deadlines.
I need deadlines.
Back when I worked the police beat for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I faced four deadlines a day. Many times, I had to run from a crime scene, find a pay phone, and dictate the story off the top of my head in order to meet that final two o’clock deadline.
The nerves were pulsating.
The adrenaline was pumping.
I never felt better in my life.
My whole physical and mental system was connected to deadlines.
Then I went to Southern Living Magazine and had two deadlines a month.
I went crazy.
I traveled a lot. I wandered the hallways. I hung around with Gerald Crawford in the photographic department. We thumbed through the photographs, looking for a cover shot.
I was bored. I had nothing to do.
I waited until deadline day to knock out every story I had planned to write that month.
Times have passed. Nothing has changed.
I still need the deadlines.
I woke up a month or so ago and realized that I was spending so much time floating and promoting on our Caleb and Linda Pirtle Website that I never seemed to get around to writing my next novel.
I thought I was busy. Hell, I was busy. Tweets. Triberr. Blogs, Stumble Upon. Google Plus. LinkedIn. You know the drill.
I needed a deadline.
So Stephen and I came up with the idea of connecting with authors to produce serials, chapter by chapter of a novel, on the Website. These were works in progress. We were writing on the fly. As I’ve said, we were writing without a net. Make a mistake. Correct it when the novel is finished. Decide a character is a drag with nothing to offer. Lose him, or her, on the re-write. But keep running hard, full speed ahead. For us all, it was a lot of short dashes that would lead to a marathon.
And I have a deadline. Every day, I have a deadline.
Sit down every night and write tomorrow’s chapter. Jump in the dark and see if you and find a light at the end of a thousand words.
Nerves are pulsating again.
The adrenaline is pumping.
I don’t know if anyone else wants to read what shows up tomorrow.
But, frankly, I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
I have a deadline. I feel like I’m alive again.