Deadlines can be, and will be, a point of stress in everyone’s life. Lately, my life has revolved around deadlines. New duties at work have brought on a wealth of deadlines that grow by the day. My personal life is always full of deadlines, especially now that we’re in the process of getting our house ready to try to sell at some point in the next few months.

However, no deadline causes me more stress, aggravation, and frustration than the ones relating to my writing. In part, this is because I push myself more and more to outdo the last one. However, it is also because no matter how much I try to plan for everything, ultimately too many things are out of my hands. I can write and edit as fast as humanly possible, but I’m beholden to how fast alpha and beta readers give me comments or to my editor’s and cover artist’s schedules.

I plan and then plan some more, building in buffers and so on. Yet, things pop up that almost always cause me to either alter my schedule or work thrice as hard once the ball is back in my court to meet my original deadline.

I wish I was the kind of person who could shrug and say, “Oh well, it comes out when it comes out.” But, I can’t. Missing a deadline or knowing that I didn’t do everything possible to meet my goal is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, makes me nauseous, and makes my ADD go into overdrive. To me, missing a deadline is a poor reflection of who I am.

Am I the only one who has trouble just letting things fall into place as best as they can? What do you do to keep from stressing out when your deadline is affected by things outside your control?

One Response so far.

  1. I'm probably not the best person to answer this because I tend to stress easily and am driven by a world of deadlines, each one more pressing than the last, but what I try to do is refocus my efforts and shift priorities and lower expectations as needed. I just can't be everything all the time, and I have to learn to be okay with that. It's a constant juggle of what HAS to be done (lesson plans, grading, event coordination) while still sneaking in little moments of what you WANT to do (sleep an extra hour on the weekend) along with what SHOULD be done (taking my daughter to the park or watching a movie with my husband) because without those moments, what's the point of all the others?

    I still catch myself worrying about the HAVE to do's while trying to enjoy the WANT and SHOULD do's, so I need to learn to be more in the moment at any given time.

    It's also about perspective. There may be times when you feel like you failed as a writer because you missed a deadline, but maybe that just means in those days/weeks whatever, you were an awesome husband or dad when you needed to be. And that's more than ok.

    I am constantly amazed by what you are able to accomplish. Take a step back and see your life for what it is, what you have done, and be proud. Ease up on yourself. :o)

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