Deadlines don’t bother me at all. Never have. For a writer of course this is a good thing because ‘Submission Deadline’ in bold text is real and for those not bold and brave, it can become scary like a rabid monster who will eat your insides and then your outsides late in the night when you’re trying to sleep.
Some people, like this old friend of mine, suggest that not liking deadlines and having a real fear of them only happens to procrastinators.
I fully agree. We were discussing this just yesterday, when out of nowhere she suddenly mentioned that I too sometimes turn into a procrastinator, but only when I hear/see the word ‘Deadline.’
Out of nowhere!
This shocked me so much, I almost accidentally knocked her coffee cup out of her hands on purpose.
“It’s some sort of illness you pick up. Like sneezing when you have the flu.” She said. “You know you have a deadline, so you’re reacting like you always do. Which is, badly.”
“Don’t be idiotic.” I told her. “I have a deadline, but I’m fine. However, right now all my handbags are not hanging properly in my closet. I have to sort them out before a faux brand avalanche buries pathetically few originals.”
“You’re procrastinating.” She said. “It’s obvious.”
“You’re over analyzing.” I replied, noting that my shoes were not placed in their usual I-should-be-able-to-find-them-if-I-am-blindfolded order.
“It’s what you do when you know you have a deadline.” She insisted.
“Screw you.” I said. “I did relationship, engagement, marriage, and two kids, and all in just 18 months. That’s not procrastinator behaviour. I’m totally a doer.”
“So, do your work and meet your upcoming deadline.” She said, with the smugness she inherits from some British ancestor.
Of course, I later realized there was no getting around the fact that I did have to start focusing, because I did have a deadline to meet. So, I rushed right to it, after I spent a couple of hours sorting out my shoes, then cleaning out all my handbags and ending up with a stash of loose change, a few sticky mints, some expired Panadol Extras, a couple of tattered notebooks, and two packages of paper soap.
And, of course the still-there deadline.
Not panicking at all, I called my husband. “How many days till November 9th?” I asked in a low, calm voice.
“Why? What’s wrong? You sound hysterical. Are you OK?” He asked.
“My deadline is November 9th” I said really, really, slowly and with more emphasis (because clearly he does not know how to read voice.) “How many days is that from right this second?”
“You have time.” He said, in that annoyingly pacifying tone he sometimes adopts from my mother. “You also have a calendar and are capable of counting.” He added, showing me how he could also sound like his own mother.
His point was the same as mine though, because as much as November 9th was around the corner, all I really needed to do was edit a piece I’d been working on for a while, make some changes and basically polish it up. No biggie.
So, I opened up my Word document, and went to get a coffee refill to fuel me on. Then, I cooked dinner, did the dishes, ran out to do errands and got back in time to read my piece. – It seemed OK, but needed some minor changes of course. I set about that task by opening a new Word document because obviously I couldn’t submit the piece I’d already written.
“Why not?” The huz wanted to know later in the evening.
“Well, for one thing I can write a better piece than the one I already have.” I said. “And, second of all, I have plenty of time to do that.”
“You’re right.” He said, which made me go (and quite calmly) “What do you mean I’m right? Did you also think my first piece wasn’t good enough and if so then why didn’t you say something before, and are you trying to ruin my life, is that why you married me?”
“Stop dodging and write.” He said.
I ignored him and got back to work because that’s what I was going to do anyway before he interrupted me. – About an hour later he interrupted me again, and with a rude “How’s it going?”
“Just fine.” I said. “But, did you know I do not have a single Michael Learns to Rock song on my 90’s music playlist?”
Me: Weird right? And, to think that music was….
“What are you doing?” He interrupted (rudely) which startled me so much, I accidentally closed my YouTube page and then had to reload it all over again.
“Not a single MLTR song.” I told him. “Which is really not on considering MLTR songs were pretty much a part of pop music back in the day. At least one song should be on my 90’s playlist.”
Him: Which you’re updating right now?
Me: It wouldn’t be fair to Michael if I didn’t.
Me: Jesus would have already had MLTR on his playlist. He was cool like that, and that’s why MLTR wrote him a song.
Him: This is the worst case of deadline denial I’ve ever seen.
Me: Don’t be negative. I got it covered. All I need is to think up a new piece and write it out. I write fast. I’m a fast thinker-writer-doer.
Him: Don’t forget ‘talker.’
Me: That makes me more like Jesus. He thought, he wrote, he talked, he did. Jesus was a doer. He didn’t sit in a corner crying “I have a deadline! I have a deadline!” He just went out there and did stuff and lots of it was miracles, and in the end He did what He was there to do all along.
Him: You need to start writing, but mostly, you need to start shutting up all this crazy talk.
Me: I’m adding MLTR’s song for Jesus to my playlist, then I’m going to write my new piece.
So, he got all nosey and asked “What’s the piece about?” as if all this talk about Jesus had suddenly given me divine inspiration or something. It’s like I’m not even allowed to take time and brainstorm in my own home anymore. Naturally I ignored him, (yet again) and got down to business. I’d noticed my playlist didn’t even have a Backstreet Boys song on it, and how is that acceptable for mainstream 90’s tunes, right?
I got to searching out a song from The Backstreet Boys when the huz went all “What’s the song MLTR did for Jesus?”
Me: The Actor
Him: What? Are you serious? Doesn’t he sing “And, I don’t even have my own car” in that? How the hell is that about Jesus?
Me: Jesus didn’t have his own car. Poor guy didn’t even have his own donkey. The song fits.
Him: You have 19 days till your deadline.
It wouldn’t have killed him to tell me that when I’d called in the afternoon, right? Everyone needs a reminder. It meant I had to concentrate on getting to work and with no more valid reasons why I shouldn’t, except that it was time for bed and people are always telling me how important those eight hours of rest are.
However, when it got to 8am today, I sat down to write, and with nothing else on my mind but writing. This is what I like about me, I know the dangers of procrastination and I never succumb to them, and especially not when I have a writing deadline.
I was so pleased with myself, I opened my last night’s blank Word document and began to write.
And, that’s how you all got this blog post.