Sunday, May 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Nobilis Reed

Hello, everyone! Today I have fellow Coming Together contributer Nobilis Reed discussing the most dreaded and, yet, the most motivational aspect of writing: deadlines. Visit her website at

On Deadlines

As a parent of teenagers, I witness the mind dominated by immediate
needs and immediate desires daily. Yes, they can plan and work
towards long-term goals, but the default, if they are not vigilant, is
to pursue whatever desires are forefront in their minds at that
moment. "It's your turn to change the catbox today" is not as likely
to get results as "if you do not change the catbox, as you agreed to
do, there will be consequences."

My muse works the same way. If there are no consequences for failing
to write on any given day, it's not likely to happen. Nothing spurs
my creativity like a looming deadline. It is for this reason that I
carefully arrange my projects so that there is always something on the horizon, some goal to hit, something for which someone is depending on me. It works best if I have a deadline within the next three or four months at all times. Beyond that, it's not really impending enough to spur activity. I call this state "project saturation." It's a balance between being too busy to keep my commitments, and too idle to get things done.

Now this isn't to say that this state of obligation nirvana is a cure
for writer's block. I get blocked sometimes, even on projects that are
due in a matter of days. But I find that I can get around those blocks
by working on something else for a while, something that has a
deadline further out, and come back to my original project after
fifteen minutes or so of proving to myself, once again, that I can in
fact write, I can go back to the original project and get moving on

A nice, meaty deadline can even help me power through distractions.
This weekend I happen to be a participant at the Balticon science
fiction convention ( and last night I was a
contestant in a writing competition modeled after the "Iron Chef" TV
show. Alongside Helen E H Madden ( and Jhada Addams ( we were challenged to write as many words of erotica as we could manage in a 20 minute span of time... while the emcee was looking over our shoulders and commenting on what we were writing, while the audience was hooting and laughing at his antics, while trying to incorporate the secret ingredient--artichoke--into the story. Probably about the worst possible environment.

I wrote more than 400 words in that 20 minutes.*

That's about as fast as I write in a nice, quiet, environment. Even
though it was a silly little game, the fact that it was a competition
gave me the tools to focus on the keyboard and the screen, and just
keep writing.

My next looming project is the third book in my "Orgone Chronicles"
series. I wrote the first 50,000 words of it during nanowrimo
( last year, and now it is nice and stale on my hard drive, waiting for me to get in there and start revisions. The second one, "Pirates" ( is just released this weekend, and as I do my readings and promotion here at the convention, I am reminded of why I am so in love with this story. I can't wait to get back in there, feel the sweet lash of deadline's whip on my back, and write.

*And if you think that's impressive, Jhada wrote almost 500 words, and Helen wrote more than 800.

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