Goals vs. Deadlines

About a month ago, I told my husband I wasn’t sure I was going to meet my deadline of finishing my latest round of revisions on my WIP by the end of March.

Him: “Wait, you have a deadline for that?”

Me: “Well, sort of…”

Him: “Who set the deadline?”

Me: “Um, well…I did.”

Him:

Yes, deadlines are kind of my thing. I know that I work best when I have an end date set. That’s not a bad thing — sometimes deadlines are required, and they need to be met (like during Pitch Wars). And in those cases, I’ll do what it takes to meet them.

The problem is that I tend to set *unrealistic* deadlines for myself when I don’t need to. There was absolutely no reason I had to get that round of revisions done in March. I was setting myself up for unnecessary stress and disappointment.

So now, I’m learning to rephrase: when setting my own end date for my work, instead of calling it a deadline, I’m calling it a goal. My goal was to get that round of revisions done in March. I didn’t quite make it, but I finished it the first weekend in April. And that was just fine!

As writers, we face enough rejection and are generally hard enough on ourselves. Easing up on our own unnecessarily harsh expectations for ourselves is one way we can lessen that stress.

Here’s to realistic goals and happy, stress-free writing!

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