deadline? or lifeline?

Words matter. Language matters. Sometimes, we aren’t even aware of the implications of words, the violence inherent in them. Like the phrase “kill two birds with one stone.” Why not “feed two ducks with one peach?” How about these:

  • Beats me
  • When push comes to shove
  • Shoot from the hip

I could go on – there are so many – but that would distract me from my main topic. Let me wiggle my way back.

I was struck by the word deadline. It’s not exactly violent, but it sounds pretty dark.

I was talking to my Shut up and Write** buddy  about the magic of deadlines. We had both had a really cool experience last week. We each set a deadline for ourselves for a major piece of work. She’s going to finish up a project that she’s been working on for years. I’m going to finish the first edit of my novel. We both set realistic dates.

And then the magic started happening.

We started doing the things. Nike style. Just do it: no procrastination, no angst, no all-or-nothing, no drama.

We put working time in our schedules. We started chipping away and making progress.

Previously, we both had goals to get our things done. Great.

We both let things slip and slide around.

We’re both doing creative things. Creatives, especially writers, need to write when they feel like it, when the muse hits them, right?

Wrong. That’s just an excuse for it not to be important. It’s giving yourself permission NOT to follow through with your creative vision, NOT to chase your dreams. Like any other skill, it takes some work. Time. Attention. Discipline. And R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Setting a deadline is like a magic key that turns on all the right parts of the brain to make the magic happen, as long as you don’t rebel against deadlines. And that’s when it came to me…deadlines need a rebranding. Deadline is dark. But lifeline, now there’s a word I can work with.

So now my deadline is a lifeline. It’s a simple date that pulls me out of the difficulties and into the solution.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the pages,


**Once a week we spend an hour together – virtually – when we check in, say what we’re going to work on and then we just shut up and write. Ask me about it if you’re interested – we have room for more!

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