Thursday, August 19, 2010

Deadlines vs Outlines...

I realized something about myself today: I don't work on a schedule, I work to a deadline.

It explains so much about myself. It explains why I can blow away NaNo with a half-decent novel draft, but can take weeks and weeks on a simple short story. I don't typically give myself deadlines when I'm writing and that's part of the reason they can take so long to get done. Other things interfere and they take higher priority and so I don't write. During NaNo, NaNo is my highest priority and so it gets done.

Even in my day-to-day life, I work for deadlines rather than schedules. I don't think "Okay, today I get up at eight, eat breakfast, do this for an hour, blah blah blah" etc. I think "Okay, I have this many hours left in the day to do this amount of things. Go." I end up prioritizing and thus get my work done that way. I can't do the "do this thing first for this amount of time" because I never actually hit that goal.

It's kind of like my writing and how I don't outline. If I outline, I drive myself crazy because the finished product is nothing like the outline. Not ever, because if I manage to stick to the outline, the product feels blah because I shoehorned it in and thus it loses its vitality. Whereas if I give myself a vague direction ("These are some things I want to happen and maybe have it end this way") I am free to do whatever and I end up with a better product. It may take editing to make it the best it can be, but at least it still feels alive.

This is a big deal for me. It helps explain so, so much in my life.

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