Writing deadlines

My fixation today has been about writing deadlines…my own and those of my professional doctoral students. My own because I am a week late returning reviews of other academics’ journal articles and others because missing deadlines on doctoral documents can have a catastrophic impact on the eventual result….even to the extent of missing the final ‘drop dead date’ for doctoral submission of the final document(s).

Here are some comments provided from Richard Nordquist entitled ‘Writers on writing’ (http://grammar.about.com/b/2013/04/03/writers-on-writing-thank-god-for-deadlines.htm?nl=1)

I know that a deadline can be both life and death to a piece of writing and that death is sometimes preferable. It depresses me utterly to see children being forced to finish a piece of writing when they’re sick of it, lacking in inspiration, and getting negative feedback in writing conferences. No one forces me to finish my writing, and I’m a published writer, so why should any writer be ruled in such a manner by someone who doesn’t own the writing anyway?
(Mem Fox, Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993)

I do not know any writers who write without deadlines, or who write at all before there is a self-imposed or external deadline. There must be some, but they are few indeed. Whenever I stop giving myself a deadline–a minimum number of pages by a certain hour on a certain day–then I stop writing. Without deadlines I do not write.
(Donald Murray, A Writer Teaches Writing. Houghton Mifflin, 1985)

Anything with a deadline is automatically more important than something without.
(Rowena Murray, Writing for Academic Journals, 2nd ed. Open University Press, 2009)

If you work alone, you really need to want to write because it calls for self-motivation . . .. I once read that 80 percent of writers need a deadline and only 20 percent don’t. If you are writing on spec, without a deadline, you’d better want it.
(Aline Soules, “Networking and Serendipity in Publishing.” Writing and Publishing: The Librarian’s Handbook, ed. Carol Smallwood. American Library Association, 2010)

Deadlines and money. If I didn’t have a deadline and never received payment, I wouldn’t write at all.
(Fay Weldon, interviewed by Alan Stevens. MediaMasters: Insider Secrets from the Big Names of Broadcast, Print and Social Media, ed. by Alan Stevens and Jeremy Nicholas. Bookshaker, 2009)

One huge aid to the writing-rewriting dynamic is the deadline. It forces savage action. Like form or design, the deadline is not a prison to creation. It offers a promised release from the self-created prison of indolence, of not writing.
(David Morley, The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Thank God for deadlines. . . . You need a deadline and a beastly editor who insists that you keep it.
(Ann Haymond Zwinger, “Field Notes and the Literary Process.” Writing Natural History: Dialogues with Authors, ed. by Edward G. Lueders. University of Utah Press, 1989)

Carole Tansley


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