“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
While such a sentiment is all well and good for a famous author, able to convince his publishers that his next novel is worth waiting for, it is less appropriate for those of us still trying to get our names out there…
This year my goal was to increase my profile by
1. Starting a blog (check)
2. Entering writing competitions (hopefully getting my work read by ‘the right people’ who would love my work so much that they’d help me to get published…)
The problem with number two is, competition deadlines are really not flexible. While I started out with good intentions, and entered the first competition on my list (unsuccessfully, but it’s all good experience), lately, due to circumstances that I won’t go in to, I’ve not spent as much time writing as I should have. This means I’ve missed one deadline already, and have another two coming up this week for which I won’t have anything ready.
Luckily these are only competitions, not work for which I expected to be paid, but I’m concerned that I may be sliding into bad habits. What if one of those competitions I’ve missed was going to be my big break?? I should point out, I really didn’t expect to have entries completed for all three competitions, knowing the deadlines were so close together, but neither did I expect that I’d have nothing ready at all!
Competitions are not the only inflexible deadlines. What if I had been working on a commissioned piece, writing perhaps for a newspaper or magazine? While it is true that delays on longer works are inevitable (the history book I co-wrote took almost 6 months longer than originally planned) when writing short pieces for professional publications, deadlines are fixed.
Perhaps I should ask myself, if I’d treated the competition deadlines as any other professional commitment, would I have made the effort to finish something, in spite of obstacles?