Thursday is the self-imposed deadline I set to complete the rewrite of my draft novel, That which is left is lost. As I write this post, I still have five chapters to go. It seems certain that I will not reach my goal.
However, I am giving myself permission to miss this deadline. Not only that but I am taking a step back and allowing myself some time to relax, recouporate and regroup. I wrote about how a fear of failure was holding me back last week, yet this week it is just lethargy and lack of inspiration. There are too many distractions at the moment – which is part of the reason the deadline was set. I knew that writing would be difficult between the 5th July until 12th July, so I set my deadline with this in mind. But I fell behind and now I can’t catch up and the realistic notion that I anticipated – of not having time, energy or focus to write – has come to fruition.
Not only am I going to let it pass but I’m also going to take an actual break. I’m not going to convince myself that I can finish in the next week, nor am I going to force myself to painstakingly write terrible words when I am not in the right frame of mind. I’m going to put it down, focus on the other important aspects of my life that need my time right now and come back to the novel when these are done.
Sometimes we need to look at the big picture. And I foresaw the frantic, tiring week I am having and tried to plan accordingly. Things didn’t go according to plan. That isn’t a failure and it isn’t (all) my fault. But what I can’t do now is blame myself for it and try and shoulder an extra burden when I already have so much on.
So, yes, writing has slipped down to the bottom of the list this week. It’s disappointing that I haven’t been able to finish what I started yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. It just means that I can’t commit to it right now. In a week, things will be different again.
Speaking of which, those regular visitors might have noted a change in my posting day(s). Usually I write on the blog every Monday and Thursday, but last week and this week it’s been on Wednesday. That’s a concious decision to provide me with some leeway for the next few weeks. By the end of July the schedule should go back to normal, but for three weeks at least I’ll be posting only on Wednesdays.
How do you deal with missed deadines? Have you ever given yourself permission to forgo a deadline because it has become unsustainable? What’s your attitude to self-imposed deadlines?
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